Get help with bills from ComEd.
A number of resources are offered by ComEd to struggling and income qualified customers in Illinois. Some of the programs are paid for by the company, other are donation and charity type resources, and they also have information on government programs and benefits.
As an example of a hybrid donation and program offered directly by ComEd, note that they have provided almost $15 million in grants and assistance this year to help families and individuals pay their utility and electricity bills. They still have funding available from several programs for customers who are struggling with paying their electricity bills, so it is not too late to apply for the remaining grants from ComEd and its CARE assistance program.
The company recognizes that thousands of customers are having difficulties with paying their electric bills on time, and many of these people are struggling for the first time. ComEd is committed to doing everything they can to help those families and individuals who are most in need of help.
ComEd has created a number of different programs that all have one goal. To help customers facing a short term difficulty, regain their footing, and to also get back on track with their utility bill payments.
ComEd Residential Special Hardship Program
This energy bill hardship program will provide assistance in the form of a one-time grant of up to $1,000. Both low and moderate income households can qualify, as the financial aid is available for customers who have a total household income at or below 400 percent of the poverty level. This is equivalent to $84,800 per year for a family of four. The applicants needs to be facing a hardship though, but the definition is fairly broad. A hardship can include a medical condition, job loss, senior hardship, medical emergency, military service or deployment, disability, reduction or loss of employment, family crisis, victim of criminal activity, or they may have experienced a property damage.
ComEd Helps Activated Military Personnel (CHAMP) Program
This program is tailored for military personnel. The ComEd CHAMP program assists active members of the military, including both the Reserves and National Guard, who have been called to active duty. Qualified participants of the CHAMPs program will be eligible for various types of assistance, including a one-time stipend of up to $300, extended due dates, budget payment plan options, deferred billing arrangements, cancellation or waiving of late charges, or utility deposit reduction or waivers.
This payment plan provides help for certain LIHEAP customers. It will give a monthly credit to any active LIHEAP-approved electric space-heating account. Additionally, the LIHEAP approved customers may be able qualify to participate in the Fresh Start Arrearage Reduction Program. This particular program provides monthly credits on utility bills of up to $150 per month. Customer arrearages will be credited after a total of six months of on-time payments.
The ComEd CARE Power-Up Contribution Program
This is a way for families and customers to help each other, their neighbors, and others. It allows people to make a voluntary contribution to the ComEd CARE Matching Program. This will in effect help customers who are most in need pay their energy bills. ComEd will match contributions as well. The ComEd CARE program will donate $2 for every $1 donated to the program, up to the first $100,000 of contributions received. To make a contribution to the CARE program, customers who are interested in donating should check the box located on the back of their ComEd bills to include a donation along with their regular payments. They can donate as much as they would like.
Government affiliated programs
All residents of Illinois, whether they use ComEd or not, can receive assistance from state and federal government sponsored resources as well. Some examples of the most common energy bill assistance programs are as follows.
- LIHEAP is paid for by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, state of Illinois, and is run by local community action agencies. A one-time grant can be used to pay winter heating bills or the occasional summer air conditioning bill.
- The Illinois Percentage of Income Payment Plan is another option. Customers will be billed based on a percentage of their total income. If they continue to pay their ComEd bill on time they may even get a credit on any arreage and have a balance on their account in effect reduced to zero.
- The Home Weatherization Assistance Program is run by not-for-profit agencies and local community action agencies. It is a free conservation program for the poor, low income, disabled, and income qualified seniors.
- Additional government programs - Households can also look into the Illinois Department of Human Services - General Assistance cash program, the elderly can contact the Department on Aging, and for customers that live in the city there is always the Chicago Department of Housing Emergency Housing Assistance and the resources they administer. All of these agencies, and others, may be able to help customers in a crisis or that are facing a disconnection. They may have cash grants or referrals available for customers.
Any ComEd customers who are interested in learning more about these programs, or apply to them, should call 1-888-806-CARE (2273) in order to speak to a customer service representative. These representatives will answer questions, provide people with payment options, and direct them to assistance programs.