ENGLEWOOD — Families experiencing financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic can turn to two ComEd programs aimed at helping customers keep the lights on.
The power company has extended the moratorium on service interruptions through March 31 for low income residents who meet Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program guidelines and households struggling with financial hardship, according to spokesman Tom Dominguez.
Residents can also apply for one of two grants offered as part of an agreement with the Illinois Commerce Commission. Over $18 million has been made available to give customers a one-time bill assistance grant up to $500 for past due balances, with the funds distributed on a first come, first serve basis.
Households must have a past due balance and meet LIHEAP requirements. Undocumented residents with a past due balance are encouraged to apply for LIHEAP before applying for bill assistance.
Those who are able to pay a little at a time can use the payment plan extension program, where customers can spread payments over 18 months once they make a 25 percent downpayment. Low income residents would be able to spread payments over 24 months with no downpayment required.
“If a family with a $600 bill receives a $500 grant, they still have $100 bill they can spread over two years,” said Dominguez. “We’re aggressively trying to get out this information but they have to call us and let us know.”
Low income customers who are experiencing service interruptions are not required to pay their past due balance in full to be reconnected, but those residents must also be LIHEAP qualified.
Those who don’t qualify will have to pay the full amount to be reconnected, said Dominguez.
Residents who haven’t applied to LIHEAP can do so at HelpIllinoisFamilies.com or call 877-411-9276 to start the pre-application process. For others who want to apply for the one-time grant, a form is available here.
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