Financial assistance available for high heat bills

Payment arrangements can be made

INDIANAPOLIS - As the stretch of bitter cold air continues, many are left wondering how they will be able to afford higher heating bills.

Officials with Citizens Energy Group said they will not disconnect customers during the arctic chill. They said it is crucial for customers to call them if they need help.

"If you're without heat or you're falling behind on your bill, call us at (317) 924-3311," Citizens Energy spokesman Dan Considine said.

The harsh winter gave many Hoosiers sticker shock when they received their heating bills for December.

Annette Groce said her heating bill was up $400 from the previous month. She was able to work out payment arrangements with the utility company.

Chip Cochran owns a heating, air conditioning and plumbing company. He says snow clogs up pipes and the extreme cold is wreaking havoc on furnaces.

"When we design a heating system for central Indiana, it's designed for zero, so once it reaches zero, it's gonna run all the time. Once it drops below zero, it can't keep up," Cochran said.

Cochran said the best thing to do with thermostats is to leave them alone. It is also crucial to change furnace filters.

Follow Drew Smith on Twitter: @drewsmith1

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