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Needy Duke power customers can get up to $300 help

PLAINFIELD, Ind. (AP) -- Certain low-income customers of Indiana's largest electric utility can receive up to $300 off their heating bills this winter.

Duke Energy Corp. announced Tuesday it's earmarking $3.5 million over five years for low-income energy assistance as part of a regulatory settlement for its Edwardsport coal gasification plant.

Duke says its customers and employees also have contributed $100,000 to raise the total amount available this year to $800,000.

Duke says customers in Indiana can receive up to $300 toward their bill if their local Energy Assistance Program agency determines they're eligible based on need and other criteria. Until this year, customers were only eligible for up to $100 annually.

Duke says if funds are still available, they also can be used for summer cooling bills.

Duke has nearly 800,000 electricity customers across Indiana.