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Citzens and Indianapolis Fire Department Offer Home Heating Safety Tips

10/28/2013
 

INDIANAPOLIS – With cold weather arriving early this year, Citizens Energy Group and the Indianapolis Fire Department would like to remind residents to take simple home heating safety measures and to call for assistance if they are having trouble paying their heating bill.

“Each winter, people lose their lives and their homes from fires because of the lack of working smoke alarms and the improper use of space heaters,” said Captain Rita Reith, Public Information Officer for the Indianapolis Fire Department. “With a few simple steps, everyone can ensure their home is safe for the winter heating season.”

Home Heating Tips

  • Alarms on each level – Every home should have working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms on each level. Alarms should be checked monthly to ensure batteries are not dead. CO is a deadly, odorless gas created by malfunctioning furnaces and improper use of fuel-burning space heaters. If you suspect CO, leave the building immediately and call 911. 
  • Check your furnace – Have your furnace and chimney inspected annually by a licensed technician. 
  • Be careful with space heaters – Create a three-foot safety zone around any kind of space heater, taking special care to keep the space heater away from anything that burns, like furniture and draperies.   Fuel burning space heaters can create deadly CO, so make sure to use a model approved for indoor use. 
  • Don’t heat with an oven – Long-term, continuous use of a natural gas oven can create a buildup of deadly CO in your home.

Energy Assistance Options

Last year over 21,000 Citizens customers received more than $6 million in energy assistance from various sources including the State’s Energy Assistance Program, the City’s Winter Assistance Fund, Trustee’s offices, Citizens’ Warm Heart Warm Home Foundation and Citizens’ Universal Service Program.  This winter, Citizens expects to provide more than $1.3 million for energy assistance. The utility is also working with elected officials and regulators to find additional financial assistance for customers, while keeping payment programs and policies as flexible as possible. 

Marion County residents in need of energy assistance should call Community Action of Greater Indianapolis at524-6966. People outside Marion County should call their local Community Action agency. Statewide customers can call Connect to Help at 211 for a variety of household assistance programs. If customers are getting behind on their gas bill, they should call the utility at 924-3311.

 “While we are pleased that gas bills may only increase slightly this year, we recognize that many of our customers will struggle because of the current economic climate,” said Carey Lykins, President and CEO of Citizens Energy Group. “By offering a number of energy assistance options, we’re working hard to keep our customers safe and warm this winter.”


About Citizens Energy Group

Citizens Energy Group provides safe and reliable utility services to about 800,000 people in the Indianapolis area. Citizens operates its utilities only for the benefit of customers and the community. Additional information is available online at Facebook - Twitter - LinkedIn - YouTube

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