Village Shares ComEd Assistance Program Details 3-14

Village Shares ComEd Assistance Program Details
Posted on 03/03/2014

ComEd has dedicated $10 million in assistance funds in 2014 to help customers who are facing financial hardship pay their electric bills. In addition, the company is now offering flexible budget billing and flexible deferred payment agreement options to assist customers receiving higher than normal bills in light of the severe cold weather blanketing northern Illinois.

“We want to make everyone aware of ComEd’s programs,” said Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin. “They have a number of options that may help people having a hard time paying their electric bills,” the mayor said.

Flexible Budget Billing Option – Through April 1, 2014, customers selecting the Budget Billing program will have the option to begin the Budget Billing program with their current month’s bill. Customers on this plan pay a pre-arranged amount each month based on their energy use during the prior 12-month budget cycle. Traditionally, the budget plan would begin with a customer’s next bill. By including the bill that reflects the higher usage, this option generally means customers will be paying a monthly amount lower than what is owed on their current bill.

Flexible Deferred Payment Agreement Option (DPA) – Through April 1, 2014, customers with an outstanding balance will be offered the option of establishing a DPA, which allows customers to make installment payments toward their bill. The option to establish a new deferred payment plan extends to customers currently on an active DPA as well as to those customers who, as a result of a recent default were previously not eligible for the installment plan.

Customer Assistance Programs 
To assist customers receiving higher than normal bills this season, ComEd is adjusting the eligibility requirements for its financial assistance programs for eligible residents including seniors, veterans, and activated members of the armed services who are ComEd customers.

Residential Special Hardship Program – This initiative is intended to supplement established state-sponsored programs such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Eligible ComEd residential customers experiencing a hardship and who are not Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) participants can receive a grant of up to $1,500 toward their electricity bill. Grant amounts may vary. Through April 1, 2014, income eligible customers are NOT required to provide additional proof of hardship such as job loss, documented illness or disability hardship.

Non-Profit Assistance Programs – ComEd extended this program to include all non-profit organizations, including faith based organizations. This program provides a one-time variable grant of up to $2,000 for 501 (c)(3) non-profit organizations that are experiencing a hardship. Effective immediately, organizations that HAVE NOT received a grant within the last two years (2011-2013) are eligible to apply for assistance.

CHAMP (ComEd Helps Activated/Veteran Military Personnel) – This program provides bill-payment assistance to deployed members of the military and veterans who have fallen behind on their bill and who reside within ComEd’s northern Illinois service territory. CHAMP offers a package of benefits, including bill payment assistance of up to $1,000 while funds are available, a deferred payment plan, extended payment due dates, exemption from late charges, deposit reduction and budget payment plans. Applicants were previously required to serve at least two year and be honorably discharged. Effective immediately customers can serve any length of time, be honorably discharged and qualify for benefits.

“We hold an energy assistance fair at the village every November,” McLaughlin said. “This works well because people who need help can come and learn about the programs available all in one place,” he said.

This is the third consecutive year ComEd is offering $10 million in assistance funds, which are part of a five-year, $50 million commitment to help ComEd customers struggling to pay their utility bills, a result of Smart Grid law enacted in 2011. Grant amounts may vary while funds are available.

To apply for the Residential Special Hardship Grant or the state sponsored assistance programs, such as LIHEAP, customers should visit a local LIHEAP Agency.

For more information on any of ComEd’s assistance programs or to enroll in ComEd’s bill-payment assistance programs, call 1-888-806-CARE (2273) or visit ComEd.Com/CARE for more information.