Customers in Missouri facing a financial hardship or emergency may be able to get help from Westar Energy. The company offers families a few different options when it comes to paying their heating and utility bills. If you live in Missouri and have been impacted by these difficult economic conditions or an unexpected job loss, call Westar for help.
Not only do they offer payment plans or direct financial aid, but Westar Energy also offers assistance and guidance in budgeting and conserving energy. These can help people save money. Or get referrals to resources or government benefits that can provide assistance in your time of need.
The Average Payment Plan can help customers, regardless of income, budget. It will in effect average out your last 12 months worth of energy bills for a more consistent monthly payment. The amount you are charged will be adjusted and need to change, and Westar will do this by in effect truing up your account. Anyone is eligible for the average payment plan, provided your account is current. This is not restricted to low income customers.
Struggling families in Missouri can explore payment extensions or arrangements. This will generally be offered as a 12 month plan. Accounts with a past due balance, but at most 30 days late, may be eligible. An initial payment will be due in order to enter into this arrangement. This can provide you time to get back on your feet and to pay your outstanding utility bills.
The arrangement will be formalized after the initial payment is made. Then, going forward, the amount due each month to Westar Energy is 1/12 of the account balance and then the amount of your current monthly bill. If you do not abide by the terms, your service can be shut off.
Direct financial assistance may be provided by Project DESERVE. This is Westar Energy's program to assist customers in need and help them pay their heating and natural gas costs.
Non-profit agencies work with the company to address the needs of people that are struggling, including the poor, seniors, or unemployed. Funding to pay for this program comes from the Project DESERVE Trust Fund, employees, customers and matching grants from the Westar Energy Foundation.
Emergency assistance may be offered as part of DESERVE for older adults (people 60 years or older) and/or customers with a severe disability. This includes children or adults meeting Social Security disability criteria. Qualified households in Missouri may receive one-time annual payments of up to $100 to be applied toward an outstanding energy bill. The company also works with the American Red Cross, who determines eligibility based on household income and other factors. To learn more or apply, call Westar Energy at (800) 383-1183 or dial the American Red Cross in Missouri at (316) 219-4000.
Missouri and Kansas cold weather conditions are in place from November 1 to March 31. This is offered for customers who can't pay their heating bill during the cold winter months. While program terms can change, for residential customers, the state mandated Cold Weather Rule generally prohibits any disconnection of your utility service when the local National Weather Service forecasts that the temperature will be in the mid-30s or colder within the following 48 hours. This will help ensure customers don't go without heat.
There are conditions in place. For example, you need to provide enough information to allow Westar Energy to make a payment agreement and you need to tell them you can't pay your utility bill in full. This program can also help certain customers with the reconnection of their power.
In addition, the cold weather rule requires that customers make an initial 1/12 payment of the total account balance and outstanding energy charges. They will also need to pay the full amount of any required disconnect and reconnect fees, including deposits. The unpaid balance will also need to be repaid over time.
Call Westar Energy at 1-800-383-1183 for more information on any of these options. Or get referrals and details for how to apply for federal government, state of Missouri, local or other grants that may be available for low income customers.
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