Utility Bill Assistance



Illuminating Company CO-OP utility assistance programs

There were two reasons that the Illuminating Company Community Outreach Opportunity program was created. The most important one was so that a small number of struggling customers can get emergency utility as well as heating bill assistance. The second reason for (CO-OP) is that it will allow the community to give back to the less fortunate by donating to the service.

When there is funding, it will target customers that have a short term crisis. This is the number one reason for the energy assistance program which is run by the Salvation Army. The applicant needs to have proof of income, residency, and age. This will not only be required for the applicant but also for all other members of the household that is seeking utility bill assistance.

When it comes to proof of income, this should include all sources. So it should be from a job as well as other sources, such as child support, benefits including food stamps, SSI disability, or any other method that has money going to the household. Since this is a limited donation service, the agencies that oversee the distribution of money from Illuminating Company Community Outreach Opportunity Program also have the right to conduct an audit. This will help ensure that all money contributed to the program are used wisely and only go for the most deserving customers.

There is also emphasis on solving a one time emergency. There may be a senior citizen that need some funding as they wait on their pension check or a payment from Medicare. Or there may be financial help for someone that had a reduction in their work hours for a week or two, and that will make up; the difference in the future. Illuminating Company Community Outreach Opportunity Program is for short term, exceptional needs. Since it relies on donations, and is not a government benefit, it does not operate the same way as other services such as LIHEAP.

In addition to using those donations to provide short term energy bill help to Illuminating Company customers, the second reason the program was created was to allow people to give back to their community. It provides the means to do this using money contributed by customers, employees, local businesses, churches, and other groups. Therefore the source of the donations for Community Outreach Opportunity Program come from many different places.






Individuals can give back by donating funds on a one time basis. Or they can decide to enter into a monthly, recurring Round Up service. So it is flexible in what is offered and how people can contribute.

Since the money stays local and is used to help the most deserving pay their utilities, it often encourages others to contribute. As an example, some of the local charities in the Illuminating Company service territory have been known to help raise money for it. There are also employees that contribute a portion of their paycheck from time to time, and other groups as well as individuals give back.

Since Illuminating Company Community Outreach Opportunity Program is voluntary, the amount donated can be started or stopped at any time. There are no minimum or maximum dollars needed, and all of the funds go only towards helping to pay the energy bills of customers of Illuminating Company that are local.

For more information on the terms and/or conditions of this program, call the Salvation Army at 216-861-8185.


By: Jon McNamara


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