Steadily dropping temperatures signal Old Man Winter will soon take up residence in the Hoosier state for the next several months. This means rising heating and electric bills could put some families in the position of making tough financial choices. Thankfully, Hoosiers needing assistance can obtain benefits through the Energy Assistance Program.

This one-time benefit, federally funded program can help with the high cost of home energy, and offers support to those about to be disconnected. The benefit does not cover all heating and electric costs, so those planning to take advantage of this assistance should continue paying their bills regularly. If all utility bills are paid on time, an additional benefit may be available.

Now through May 1, Hoosiers may apply for heating benefits. Click here for eligibility requirements and more information.

Many Indiana utility companies also offer additional resources to assist low-income customers. Click here to learn more about these companies and other organizations assisting Hoosiers with their heating bills like Duke Energy’s Helping Hand program, South Central REMC’s Operation Roundup program and Northern Indiana Public Service Company’s Winter Warmth Program.

Hoosiers unsure who to contact about heating assistance or in need of other resources should call 2-1-1, a free and confidential service available 24/7. Several statewide organizations also provide additional help.

Cost-saving energy tips like letting natural light in to help heat the house, covering drafty windows and keeping the fireplace damper closed when a fire is not burning can also trim costs.