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ComEd assistance programs.

Find assistance programs for ComEd customers, including low-income families, seniors, the disabled and veterans among others. The utility company provides payment plans, financial hardship plans to pay electric bills, PIPP and other resources in Illinois and Chicago. Find details below on how to get assistance with utility, heating and ComEd electric bills.

Some of the programs are paid for by the company, other are donation and charity type resources. ComEd also has information on government programs and benefits, including emergency LIHEAP grants and free weatherization services.

The company recognizes that each year it is likely that thousand of customers may have 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. Everything from the payment plans to disconnection prevention during the winter or summer may be offered as well as other financial aid.

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.

The hardship needs to be fully documented, and applicants also need to meet program income guidelines. Many apply as they have been impacted by a job loss, short term disability, illness, military deployment, or senior citizen issues. ComEd's Residential Special Hardship program will provide at most a grant of $1000 every two years to qualified individuals. Any aid provided depends on program funding. Applicants also need to have total household incomes up to 250% of the federal government poverty level.

 

 

 

ComEd Helps Activated Military Personnel (CHAMP) Program

C.H.A.M.P. is a financial assistance program offered by ComEd that can help military personnel in Illinois who receive their power from ComEd.

Members of the National Guard, U.S. Armed Forces, and Army Reserves who have been called to active duty can get assistance with paying their monthly heating and electricity bills. A variety of benefits and assistance is offered to assist military personnel. It is estimated that a few thousand people could benefit from CHAMP. Disabled Veterans who live in Illinois and who are ComEd customers, and who were honorably discharged with at least two years of service, may also apply for financial assistance as well.

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.

Resources provided as part of this service include Deferred Payment Plan/Installment Payment Plan, cash of up to $1000 (while funds are available) to pay bills, utility Deposit Reduction and/or Refunds, as well as Cancellation of Late Charges. There are also Budget Payment Plan, and Extended Due Dates.

Fresh Start

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. Fresh Start Arrearage Reduction Program is LIHEAP approved. It provides monthly credits of up to $150 a month for qualifying ComEd customers who begin and continue to pay their electric bills on time.

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.

 

 

 

 

PIPP assistance in Illinois and Chicago

Percentage of Income Payment Plan – People who receive LIHEAP can get additional help from the Direct Vendor Payment (DVP) plan or the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP). The qualified customer will need to pay a percentage of their income towards their monthly bills. If the household were to do this, and abide by other program terms, the ComEd customer will also receive a monthly credit/benefit towards their paid unpaid utility bills, and the credit will reduce their overdue outstanding bills for every on-time payment they.

One of the main benefits from PIPP is that clients will receive a reduction in overdue payments on any older unpaid bills on their ComEd account for every payment they make by the bill due date. The other option, which is the more traditional DVP plan, is a one-time payment for back bills.

Government assistance programs for paying ComEd utility bill

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.
  • Summer Assistance Program – While not available every year, when it does run qualified families can receive up to a one-time $30 credit on a ComEd bill. The funds flow to current Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program participants with household incomes up to 200 percent of the federal government poverty level. Sometimes free fans may be distributed too, in partnership with local charities or non-profits.
  • 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.

Local city of Chicago and Cook County assistance programs for ComEd customers

Upkeep and Repair Services Program is offered in Chicago. You need to call a local community action agency to apply. It can provide free minor home repairs to seniors, including replacing faulty light fixtures or switches, maintaining or repair weather stripping and caulking, and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chicago Department of Housing may be able to provide grants to help low-income home owners make emergency home repairs, such as which can address energy matters. Call (312) 744-4190.

The Community and Economic Development Association may offer energy bill assistance to help eligible ComEd families pay their monthly electric bills. Dial (312) 795-8800 for more details. The government agency also administers a home weatherization program that can be used to help people save money by allowing homeowners and qualified renters to help make their homes more energy efficient.

State of Illinois also offers weatherization services, and these are paid for by the federal government. Assistance is provided to low-income residents by local not-for-profit agencies or community action agencies throughout the state.

How to get financial assistance and resources from ComEd

Any ComEd customers who are interested in learning more about these programs, or apply to them, should call 1-888-806-2273 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.

By Jon McNamara

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