Utility Bill Assistance

 

 

ComEd assistance and energy bill tips

Over the course of the year, ComEd has been offering assistance with utility and electric bills to needy customers. Just this year, ComEd has provided approximately $10 million in order to help lower income Illinois households pay their electric bills. Every year the energy company has a pool of funds available, and they strongly encourage families across Illinois to contact them and ask for assistance at 1-800-334-7661. There have been certain years when they have even needed the year with unspent funds for paying utility bills.

Providing struggling customers with utility and electric bill assistance, especially during a weaker economy, has been a key principle of the company. Occasionally customers are faced with a financial challenge. Oftentimes these people have never asked for help in the past. So people may need assistance with paying their utility bills, especially during the cold Illinois winter. ComEd also works with other community partners, charities and non-profit social service agencies in order to spread the word on resources available, and to coordinate programs.

One of their primary cash assistance programs was started in 2007. Back then “only” four million dollars was available, but in more recent years ComEd has paid up to $10 million to low income qualified customers for their utility bills.

ComEd will provide customers with other heating and electric bill assistance as well. For example, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, there is a winter ban across the state of Illinois that prohibits all utility and natural gas companies, such as ComEd, from disconnecting service. This moratorium is in effect from December 1 to March 31 of every year. Instead of a disconnection, utility and gas companies need to offer a payment plan to customers that allows them to pay 10 percent down on their outstanding heating bills. They also need to offer them equalized billing over the next four to 12 months.

ComEd has free tips and advice for customers of all income levels. This can help them prepare their homes or condo for winter weather, assist them with reducing reduce electricity costs, and help them manage their energy usage. Some of the tips include:

-Have your home heating systems inspected, cleaned and/or tuned up by a professional each year to ensure optimum efficiency and safety. Be sure to have this done before the winter. Also test your carbon monoxide alarms and smoke detectors to ensure proper functioning.

 

 

 

 

 

-If you use space heaters, keep at least three feet of space between the heater and any surfaces that could burn, including furniture, walls, couches and bedding. Choose space heaters that come with automatic shut-off in case they tip over when you are not in the room.

-Every year, inspect the weather-stripping and caulking around all of your doors, windows, and openings. Replace the stripping as needed, before it is worn. Making these small and relatively inexpensive improvements could result in savings of up to 20 percent on your annual ComEd heating bills.

-Reverse the direction of rotation of your ceiling fan blades. During the winter months they should spin clockwise at low speed. This will ensure that the warm air and that the heat that your furnace gives off and that has risen can be re-distributed around the room.

Other electric, heating, and utility bill programs offered by ComEd include:

Non-Profit Assistance Programs - ComEd works closely with charities, churches, and other non-profits in Illinois. The energy company funds many of their assistance programs and will help them coordinate charity type programs in Illinois.

ComEd Helps Active Military Personnel, or CHAMP. This will provide provides utility bill-payment assistance to disabled veterans and deployed members of the military who have fallen behind on their monthly bills. This service is offered for those customers who reside within ComEd’s Northern Illinois service territory. CHAMP offers military members and veterans a package of benefits, including electric bill payment assistance of up to $1,000 as funding allows. Other assistance comes in the form of a exemption from late charges, deferred payment plan, extended payment due dates, , budget payment plans, and a deposit reduction.

The Residential Special Hardship program was created to complement such established federal government and state-sponsored programs such as the LIHEAP - Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Eligible low income and poor residential customers that are experiencing a crisis situation or ongoing hardship and who are not enrolled in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan can receive a cash grant of up to $1,500 towards paying their ComEd utility bill.