December 15: With unemployment rates in Illinois at record levels, ComEd announced it still has more than $1 million in assistance available this year for eligible customers who are having trouble managing their electricity bills.
So far this year, ComEd customers have accessed almost $14 million in assistance dollars. To boost the amount of CARE dollars available in 2010, ComEd will match $2 for every $1 contributed by customers up to the first $100,000 through its CARE Power-Up contribution program during December.
ComEd has a number of programs tailored to help customers with utility bill payments. The programs are funded as a result of a $1 billion electric rate relief package signed into law in August 2007, in which Ameren, the other major electric utility in Illinois, also participated. The programs were to be funded for three to four years. The ComEd programs available are:
Residential Special Hardship Program: Provides a one-time grant of up to $1,000 for residential customers with household incomes at or below 400 percent of the poverty level ($84,800 for a family of four) that identify a hardship. This can include medical hardship, military hardship, senior hardship, disability hardship, loss of employment, family crisis, property damage or victim of criminal activity. Applications are processed by the LIHEAP subgrantee network of community action agencies.
ComEd Helps Activated Military Personnel (CHAMP): Assists activated members of the military, including National Guard and Reser.ves, who have been called to active duty. Eligible participants qualify for a one-time stipend of up to $300, deferred billing arrangements, extended due dates, cancellation of late charges, deposit reduction or waiver and budget payment plan options.
Fresh Start: Provides monthly credits to any active LIHEAP-approved electric space-heating account. Additionally, LIHEAP approved space-heating customers may qualify to participate in the Fresh Start Arrearage Reduction Program. This provides monthly credits of up to $150 a month. Customer arrearages are credited after six months of on-time payments.
ComEd CARE Power-Up Contribution Program: By making a voluntary contribution to the ComEd CARE Matching Program, customers can help those who are most in need pay their energy bills. During December, ComEd CARE will donate $2 for every $1 donated to the program, up to the first $100,000 of contributions received