November 14, 2014—As Americans observed Veterans Day this week, an Illinois utility reminded its customers that it offers an energy assistance program specifically for veterans and active military personnel.
Among its assistance programs, Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) provides CHAMP, which stands for ComEd Helps Activated/Veteran Military Personnel. It provides up to $1,000 in bill assistance, deferred payment plans, cancellation of late charges, and other services. CHAMP is open to veterans and deployed active-duty personnel in ComEd's northern Illinois service area.
The number of veterans needing energy assistance consistently grows. The National Association of Energy Directors' Association conducted a survey in 2011. It reported that the percentage of LIHEAP households with at least one veteran had increased from 12 percent in Fiscal Year 2008 to 20 percent in FY 2011, an increase of approximately 1.1 million households. The graph below helps illustrate the growth of veterans receiving LIHEAP.
ComEd isn't the only utility offering a veteran-focused assistance program. Another example comes from Keys Energy in Florida, which offers a discount to disabled veterans. Sometimes regulatory entities help spread the word about such programs. The Texas Public Utility Commission's website lists the retail electric providers in the state that offer assistance programs for veterans.
Sources: Media reports, NEADA