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I&M to let customers help fellow customers

December 28, 2018

Indiana Michigan Power is launching a new program to help customers pay their energy bills, utility officials announced Thursday. 

Under the Neighbor to Neighbor Program, Indiana Michigan Power customers may opt-in via a contribution on their monthly bill. Customers who are interested check a box and specify the amount they wish to give. The contribution is tax-deductible. 

“I&M constantly looks for ways to best serve our customers and this is just one more option to help customers who are having difficulty paying their bills as well as those who want a simple way to help others,” Toby Thomas, I&M president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. 

The power utility is starting the fund with $50,000. All money raised will go directly toward paying the utility bills of those who qualify. To be eligible to receive assistance under the Neighbor to Neighbor Program, customers must meet guidelines laid out by the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Indiana Michigan Power is partnering with nonprofit Dollar Energy Fund to identify local agencies that assist area residents. Once the agencies are identified, customers can apply for assistance at those locations. 

The Neighbor to Neighbor program comes a month after the utility launched its Energy Share program, which provides 96.8 million rate hike that increased a typical home’s monthly electric bill by about $9.41. The increase was approved in May. 

Indiana Michigan Power began phasing in the rate increases in July. The full amount of the increase will be implemented early next year. The utility will provide an additional $125,000 to the Energy Share program in 2019. Both the Energy Share and Neighbor to Neighbor programs were borne out of discussions between Indiana Michigan Power, Community Action Program representatives and other consumer advocates as part of the rate-increase review. 

More information about the Neighbor to Neighbor program can be found at IndianaMichiganPower.com/Neighbor.

dgong@jg.net

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