This gas bill assistance program was designed by Nicor Gas with the goal of helping those households who have had their natural gas service disconnected. This resource is a possibility for those customers that had a shut off because of nonpayment of their bills and the program may be able to help reconnect their service. It is also available during the fall months from October 1st through March 31st each year so families can enter into this plan before the onset of winter.
Nicor currently provides service to almost 2.3 million residential customers in the northern third of the state of Illinois, however they do not provide coverage to the city of Chicago itself. The number of residential customers who have had their gas service turned off for nonpayment of their gas bills increased almost 5 percent year over year. As an example of the struggles faced by families, from 2007 to 2009, the number of people who have had their service turned off increased a total of about 35 percent. So the demand for assistance and options is very high. Only a small number of qualified customers may qualify due to limtied funding. Find a listing of other Illinois energy bill assistance programs.
The Nicor Reconnect Assistance program will allow customers who have had their natural gas service disconnected to have it turned back on by paying only 1/3 percent of their outstanding gas bill if they sign up. So they pay 33% of the bill up front, and then have to pay the remainder of their unpaid bill in equal monthly installments over over the agreed length of time per the agreement. The household will also need to pay 1/5 of the outstanding deposit in order to get the gas turned back on.
If payments are missed on this installment plan then the customer could go back to a shut off status. So it is important that you can pay the balance over the following year or agreed upon timeframe. As if residential customers cannot pay the remainder of their gas bill within those 12 months, then their accounts will fall back into default and the service may be turned off again. So this repayment schedule offers customers of the power company with an incredible amount of flexibility and, most importantly, time so that they can get back on track with their gas and utility bills.
This option can be combined with other solutions as well. Some customers that qualify for reconnection will have the opportunity to use other programs, such as LIHEAP. They can then put any grants or credits from LIHEAP toward paying for their initial Reconnect Program payment. The program can also assist customers by getting their natural gas service restored before the arrival of colder winter temperatures in Illinois.
Customers who have had their gas service disconnected should look into and sign up for the Nicor Gas Reconnect Assistance program as soon as possible by calling Nicor Gas at 1-800-310-0566. As noted, it runs from October 1 to the end of March only. The customer can’t have participated in the program the previous year and they need to meet the payment terms and other conditions above. Other than those, there are no other qualifications to the program, and all residential customers who have been disconnected for nonpayment of their bills are eligible for the Reconnect Assistance Program if they meet these terms.
If you decide not to use the Reconnect Program or miss some of the agreed upon payments, then those customers that have been disconnected for non-payment on their account will be required to pay their outstanding natural gas bill. They may also may need to meet other terms in place with Nicor before service can be restored by the energy company.
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