Both Vectren Gas as well as the Ohio Department of Development run a number of assistance programs, energy conservation measures, and provide other support to low income customers. The objective is to help families improve the energy efficiency of their homes so that they can save money, and also assist them with paying their monthly natural gas bills. A summary of the resources available are below.
Ohio Vectren Gas customers can apply for these options as well. First and foremost is the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). It can offer grants and direct financial assistance to qualified consumers to help them with paying heating bills. Or customers can save money from the free Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP). This federal government program was created to reduce the energy consumption of qualified families.
The Ohio Department of Development (phone (800) 282-0880) accepts applications for these federal programs. Or call your local Department of Jobs and Family Services. Either resource can help you apply for aid, answer questions on HEAP or weatherization, and in general provide assistance if you need it.
People facing a disconnection of their gas service, who have a medical condition, or who are faced with other issues can look into help from the energy provider. For example, a limited number of special payment arrangements are provided to the low income and needy for some of the situations below.
If you or a member of your households health could be adversely affected if your natural gas was disconnected, then you may qualify for help based on the medical condition. For this type of medical emergency or hardship payment plan, Vectren will require proper certification and proof by a licensed physician or board of health physician.
During the cold Ohio winter, in most years Vectren will offer a payment plan that allows customers to pay one-third of the total balance due on their gas bills each and every month. This can include any older, unpaid bills and well as current costs.
Energy efficiency and conservation is offered from a Vectren program known as TEEM. Qualifying low income households can receive energy conservation and efficiency measures in their apartment or home at no cost to them. Improvements that can be made, include, but are not limited to, installing a new natural gas furnace, upgrading insulation, adding caulking, or much more. This is an effective weatherization program. All improvements and updates are made by a team of energy efficiency professionals from your local Community Action Agency. Only households with a total income at 300 percent of poverty or less are eligible for the program.
Disconnection payment plans can be agreed upon too. These may allow reduced payments on your bills and a potential disconnection may be avoided. Vectren will usually offer this if you are eligible for the PIPP Plus or some other extended payment plan. You will need to agree to all terms of the plan too. Either Vectren or a local non-profit in your town, such as a community action agency or the Salvation Army, can help you apply.
PIPP Plus is offered to Vectren Ohio customers. It is a financial assistance program offered to customers whose total household income is at or below 150 percent of the Federal government poverty level. This assistance program does not reduce or waive someone’s gas bill or energy costs, but it allows individuals to enter into a payment plan. PIPP Plus still requires clients of the program to pay a percentage of their total monthly household income towards their natural gas bills.
A huge benefit of PIPP Plus is that people can get a credit on an unpaid bill. For example, if your payments are made in-full and on time, you will be able to receive an incentive credit and an arrearage credit on your gas bill. If you make 24 such payments, your entire older bill could potentially be eliminated.
The state also funds and requires that the financial assistance programs below are made available.
Qualified low income customers can receive cash grants or financial assistance at most once per year from the Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program (EHEAP). This service is run by Ohio Community Action Agencies and it can provide financial assistance at most once per heating season to eligible households that are seeking disconnection avoidance, who are currently disconnected, or who need to reconnect their gas service. Call 1-800-282-0880 to schedule an appointment.
The Ohio winter reconnection order is available for Vectren Gas customers too. This state program will help people either maintain or reconnect their natural gas service for a maximum payment of $175. To learn more or to take advantage of this plan, please call Vectren at 1-800-227-1376 to protect your utility service for 30 days. Any balance beyond the $175 still needs to be paid on your account, and you will need to make a payment arrangement with Vectren or apply for available energy assistance programs.
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