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Ohio Gas and Suburban Natural Gas assistance programs.

The two energy companies, Ohio Gas as well as the Suburban Natural Gas Company, offer several programs for paying utility bills. They range from one time grants to conservation resources, government aid, referrals, and programs for those with a medical condition. The companies try to work with struggling or low income families in an effort to find some type of solution.

Extended Payment Plans are offered for customers that are struggling. It can help the unemployed, people facing a short term crisis, or individuals with a reduction in work hours. The companies may offer those that qualify additional time to pay their energy bills and make up any arrearage. The expense will still need to be paid though, so this is only for a short term issue.

The Equal Payment Plan provides all customers the ability to plan and budget better. This is possible as EPP offers them the convenience of making consistent monthly payments on their account. People from Suburban Natural Gas will be able to avoid the normal seasonal highs and lows in your electric or heating bills that may occur, especially during the colder winter months. Each month, customers that are enrolled in EPP will be billed one-twelfth of their estimated total annual expense. Then the account is trued up quarterly.

Many households of both gas companies live on a fixed income and use the Extended Due Date. Families with a member that is receiving social security, disability, a pension or that is at least 60 years old are some of the beneficiaries. It is used when the customers electric bill is due just before your monthly benefit check comes. In these cases the Ohio Gas Company will extend the due date on your payment until after your check arrives.

Military Deferred Payment Program can assist those customers who are struggling or faced with financial difficulties because their immediate family members have been called to active military duty. If this is you, then you may be able to defer paying either all or a part of your monthly heating and utility bill. Then, at some later date, when the family member returns home from the military, the account will be reviewed to determine any further payment arrangements that may be needed.

The state of Ohio Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus, widely known as PIPP Plus, can be called at 1-800-589-3101. This is a government benefit and will offer individuals an extended payment arrangement that allows regulated electric and natural gas companies to accept payments. The amount due will be based on a certain percentage of a customer's household income.




PIPP Plus will require that people pay a percentage of their household income every month of the year towards their monthly utility bills. While program terms can change, in general those Ohio Gas households or families that get their service from Suburban Natural Gas Company and that don’t heat their homes with electricity will be required to pay the greater of about 6 percent of their total gross monthly household income each month or $10.

Suburban Natural Gas customers who can’t enroll into PIPP Plus because their income is too high may still be eligible for the similar named PIPP Plus Arrearage Crediting (PAC) plan. This will allow the qualified customer to pay off any unpaid balance on their account.

The federal government funded and created HEAP, Home Energy Assistance Program, is administered by the State of Ohio Department of Development, community action agencies, and is fully supported by both gas companies. It provides cash grants for paying heating bills. Some funds may be offered during the summer for cooling costs as well. The HEAP Emergency Program can help prevent a disconnection of your gas service. Also, a community action agency can refer customers to conservation programs.

A leading partner agency in the state of Ohio is the Salvation Army. They run assistance programs, many that depend on donations from the community. Emergency aid may be offered for those facing a short term crisis or emergency situation, such as a medical hardship or job loss. Funding comes from people and businesses in the region.




Emergency energy bill assistance may also be offered to low income and poor families from community action agencies, local county departments of human services, veterans services offices, or the soldier's relief commissions. This is a possibility for all energy providers, including Ohio Gas.

The state of Ohio Fuel Fund Grant Program can help residential customers of Ohio Gas keep their electric or heating service on. Or the grant can be used to establish electric service for those households that have an unpaid utility bill from a previous residence or home address. It is only offered for those families that meet household income limits and that also meet several other program qualifications and other requirements.

Some of the other resources include Medical Certification. This can help people with severe health problems keep their utilities on even if they miss a payment. The customer will need to explore payment plans and extensions. A similar service is the Critical Customer Care Program, which will provide families with notice of any upcoming power disconnections.

Other assistance, referrals, and support may be provided by the companies. Dial Suburban Natural Gas at 419-655-2345 or Ohio Gas can be reached at 800-331-7396.




By Jon McNamara











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