Utility bill and energy assistance programs Illinois
Financial assistance programs in Illinois can help the low to moderate income, seniors or disabled pay their energy and utility bills. Below you will find information on various options and resources that are offered by the government as well as utility companies themselves. Find free government grants, payment plans, free weatherization measures or emergency LIHEAP among other programs.
Non-profits, charities, and government agencies in Illinois also may be able to provide financial help to pay utility or heating bills or a deposit to reconnect service. They also offer access to emergency and crisis assistance so that low income families can either keep their power on or reconnect their utilities.
Assistance directly from utility companies in Illinois
Most of the utility companies in Illinois offer some form of assistance to their customers. There may be payment plans, rebates, applications to grants, free energy conservation resources and more. Find details below.
Ameren - Hardship Assistance for Residential Customers is run by community action agencies in Illinois, and the non-profits distribute program funds and cash grants that will be based on the financial hardship being experienced by customers with household incomes of up to 400 percent of the federal government poverty level. The agencies may award cash grants and aid of up to $600 per household. Customers may call 1-877-411-9276 to get more information on this resource, or to obtain the name and address of your community action agency in your county or town.
Ameren - The Residential Bill Payment Assistance may be able to provide $300 worth of grants to pay energy or heating bills to low-income electric customers. The income level for a customer to qualify is 150 percent to 200 percent of the energy bill assistance levels that are established by the federal government poverty level. The grants and financial assistance will be provided through the local community action agencies that administer the federal LIHEAP program.
Ameren – The Warm Neighbors Cool Friends is an assistance program that provides utility and heating bill payment assistance as well as home weatherization and energy conservation measures for qualifying Ameren low to moderate income customers. The program is based on certain income guidelines that are established by the federal government. Call 800-755-5000 to find a location in your town or city to apply to.
Another option is Dollar More, which may be able to offer emergency funds for paying a wide variety of home energy and utility bills including gas, oil, propane, and electric. All Dollar More contributions go to those who need help through a network of local charities, human services agencies, and community action groups.
Ameren also participates in an assistance program that is known as the Good Samaritan Initiative. The program is available for qualified participants who are facing a disconnection or who have had their utilities terminated. Customers who fall into this category can get their utility service restored by paying 20 percent or $250 of the remaining balance on their home energy or utility bill.
To qualify for help from this particular program, utility customers must have account balances that are too high to be covered by the state of Illinois Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, but the balance on their bill needs to be less than $3,000. The Good Samaritan initiative is currently being run by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Contact your local community action agency to apply for help or more information.
Those are just a few of the programs and resources offered my Ameren. Several other financial assistance programs are administered in Illinois. Learn more on Ameren Illinois assistance programs.
Atmos Energy runs another program known as Sharing the Warmth. This program is funded by customer donations as well as donations from businesses that help people and families pay their gas bills. All funds go to people who need help. Call one of the following agencies. Shawnee Development Council, 618-524-2941. Bond, Clinton, Marion, Washington counties: contact BCMW, 618-532-7388. Wabash Area Development Inc, 618-252-2680. Clay, Effingham, Fayette, Shelby counties contact: C.E.F.S., 217-342-2193 x143. Illinois Valley Economic Dev. Corp, 217-839-4431
City Of Chicago – The city offers the Emergency Housing Assistance Program. Emergency repair grants and other forms of financial assistance are made available to qualified low to moderate income homeowners. This particular program may include replacement or repair of heating and cooling units, emergency roof repairs and improvements, and other energy saving conservation activities. Applications for this particular Chicago Illinois program are taken at the City of Chicago Department of Housing. Find heating and energy programs in the city of Chicago.
City, Light, Power and Water - This is a smaller energy prover in the state of Illinois. Qualified low income customers may be entered into payment plans. The company also works with Goodwill to offer a program in which individuals can volunteer in order to have an outstanding balance on their account credited. Project RELIEF is another resource that relies on donations from customers and all money goes to the less fortunate in their service territory. More on City, Light, Power and Water assistance programs.
ComEd – Another assistance program known as the Residential Hardship Fund may be able to offer variable grants to qualified people. The grants provided are worth up to $1,000, and the money is used to offset rate increases for people and individuals with special circumstances and who are facing a hardship.
Customers of ComEd who have household incomes up to 400 percent of the federal government poverty level may be eligible for assistance if they identify a special hardship issue such as an unexpected medical expenses or emergency, military service, if the customer is a senior that is requiring in-home care or grandparents raising minor grandchildren, or if the household has a person in the home with a disability. Apply for this financial hardship fund at your local LIHEAP administering agency.
ComEd – The ComEd Helps Activated Military Personnel program, also known as C.H.A.M.P, provides customers with special services, aid and benefits, including a one-time cash grant, deferred billing, stipend, extended due dates, late charges cancellation, and payment plans. 888-806-CARE (2273), and it is of course for military personnel.
ComEd – The Rate Relief Program has a few main components. They include the Fresh Start, which is a federal government LIHEAP-approved program that space-heating customers may qualify for. These individuals will be able to participate in the Fresh Start Arrearage Reduction Program, which provides monthly credits on utility and energy bills of up to $150 a month for qualifying low to moderate income customers who begin and who continue to pay their electric bills on time each month.
Another option is the Summer Assistance Program. This resource will provide qualified customers with a one-time $30 credit, and it is currently for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program participants with household incomes up to 200 percent of the federal government poverty level. Apply at your local LIHEAP administering agency, such as the Salvation Army or community action agency. Or for more information you can also decide to call ComEd CARE at 888-806-2273.
ComEd - The resources listed above are just some of the assistance programs offered to low income, senior and struggling customers. Several other financial assistance and weatherization programs operate across Illinois. There are several utility and heating bill assistance programs offered by ComEd, including the Residential Special Hardship Program, the Helps Activated Military Personnel (CHAMP), Fresh Start, the CARE Program, and last, but not least, the ComEd CARE Power-Up Contribution Program. Learn more on energy assistance from ComEd.
Illinois Supplemental Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund (SLEAF) – This is a statewide program that is mandated by law. The funding goes for low-income bill payment assistance and funds are used to supplement the state of Illinois weatherization program. The LIHEAP program makes payments and grants from the fund directly to utilities. SLEAF funds and cash assistance may be used only for providing financial assistance and grants to low-income customers of the utilities that assess the surcharge of the customer’s account.
Mid-American Energy Company – The I CARE program may be able to assist those families and individuals who are unemployed, who may be living on fixed or low incomes or experiencing a family crisis by helping them pay their home utility or heating bills or making their homes more energy efficient. Various conservation measures are allowed as well. To qualify for help, customers must also meet the state of Illinois LIHEAP guidelines. Call 1-888-427-5632. Or click here for more details on other financial resources from the Mid-American Energy Company.
Nicor Gas offers customers the Good Samaritan Initiative as well. This is offered by several utility companies in Illinois. The assistance program will offer qualified participants the ability to get their utility or heating service restored by paying 20 percent or up to $250 of their remaining balance on their utility bills.
To qualify for financial assistance from this particular program, utility customers must have account balances that are currently too high to be covered by any aid that may be provided by the state's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. However the total balance on their account must be less than $3,000. The initiative is currently run by a combination of your local community action agency (where you apply to LIHEAP from) as well as the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
Nicor Gas runs the Sharing Program. This service provides one-time financial aid and annual grants to qualified low income residential customers. The program is currently administered by the Salvation Army, the Sharing Program funded by direct contributions from Nicor Gas' customers and employees. To receive a Sharing grant from Nicor, you must meet income guidelines that have been put into place and you also need to apply in person at your local Salvation Army office in your town or county. Read more, and get details on other assistance programs and resources from Nicor Gas.
Northshore Gas is another of the Illinois based energy companies that run the Good Samaritan Initiative. This may be able to help qualified participants and provide them with the ability to get their utility or energy service restored by paying 20 percent of their unpaid bill or $250 of their remaining balance. To qualify for this particular program, utility customers must have account balances too high to be covered by the federal government and state of Illinois Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Call your local community action agency.
Northshore Gas offers a program that is administered by the Community and Economic Development Association (CEDA). Phone 800-571-2332. The assistance program is called Share the Warmth, and it may be able to provide heating bill assistance and cash grants to limited and fixed-income households in the service territory. Qualified customers who make a payment toward their heating or energy bills receive matching grants of up to $200.
Northshore Gas - Click here for details on additional Northshore programs. Low income customers can apply for various payment plans, government aid such as LIHEAP, and more. Continue with Northshore Gas financial assistance programs.
Peoples Energy Corporation also runs the Share the Warmth program. Like the other versions of the program run by other utilities, the program may be able to provide emergency aid and cash grants. The Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County (CEDA) runs the assistance program. (phone 800-571-2332). Help is available to low income or struggling households.
Peoples Gas - A program that has been helping the less fortunate for many years is Share the Warmth. Funds are raised from the community and all money goes to qualified low income families, including the unemployed. The grants can assist residents of Chicago that are faced with a disconnection of their energy or heating service. Read Share the Warmth from People Gas.
Peoples Gas also runs it own version of the Good Samaritan Initiative/Program. The program may be able to provide people who have had their service terminated with help in getting it restored. Financial assistance is offered that can help them by paying $250 of their balance or 20%. To qualify for help from this program, customers of People Gas must have account balances that are too high to be covered by the state of Illinois Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The total balance does need to be less than $3,000. Call your local community action agency to apply for help or request more information. Or if this program can’t help you, find out more on Peoples Gas financial assistance programs.
Springfield City Water Light and Power – The RELIEF program may be able to help customers who have a delinquent or overdue CWLP energy bill. The assistance program may be able to pay a portion of the energy bills. There are some conditions to the program. The applicant must be part of the federal government Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. To apply, call 789-2414
Springfield Illinois City Water Light & Power offers certain customer’s access to the Senior Citizen Discount Rate. This will provide low to moderate income customers who are 62 years of age or older with a 10% discount on their heating or energy bills. Call 217-789-2233
Wayne-White Counties Electric Cooperative offers WORKS. This provides grants for individuals or families in need and for 501(c)3 organizations. The purpose of the assistance program is to meet a critical need, including utility and heating bills that are not currently not being met by any other means. Financial assistance and cash grants are limited to $2,500 for individuals and families and are currently funded by customer donations.
The WORKS grant program is only currently available to eligible member-customers of Wayne-White Electric Cooperative in southern Illinois, therefore applications from outside their immediate customer area will not be accepted as part of the program and these individuals are not eligible for any type of financial assistance or grants through the WORKS program. Call 618-842-2196
Government assistance programs in Illinois for heating, energy, or utility bills
Low income heating and energy bill assistance - Illinois families, seniors, the disabled, and others may qualify for financial assistance to pay their utility bills. There are LIHEAP grants. In addition, free energy conservation programs (weatherization) are also available to help people save money on their heating bills. More on Illinois Low Income Home Energy Assistance programs.
Summer assistance programs - Illinois can experience very hot weather during the summer. When this occurs, the state can provide financial assistance for paying cooling bills, buying fans and/or air conditioners, and other support. Most of the help provided is from the federal government and state of Illinois LIHEAP program. Learn more on Illinois cooling bill help.
Winter assistance programs - Find where to turn to for funds, grants, and advice in paying your heating bills during the cold Illinois winter, spring, and late fall months. Low income residents can turn to non-profits, government programs, and other resources that are made available to them. More Illinois heating bill programs.
Help for water bills in Illinois
Another service that is in high demand is help for paying water bills. Tens of thousands of families are faced with a shut off of their water and/or sewer service every year. A few different payment plans and resources are administered that can help the low income and qualified individuals get back on track. Find more information on Illinois water assistance programs.