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Maine Public Service Company Legislation - Payment Assistance Program

Maine Public Service Company Legislation - Payment Assistance Program

Maine Public Service Company

33. Low-Income Payment Assistance Program 7

I. General Program - Description

A. Beginning October 1, 1993, the Company will offer a low-income payment assistance program for qualifying low-income customers. The estimated benefit cost to the Company will be $248,000. The Program will consist of an annual bill credit of either C $75.00, $100.00, $125.00, or $150.00, depending on the customer's income when compared to the Federal Poverty guideline. The Program will be available to low-income residential customers who are eligible for and receive Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) benefits and who are high users of electricity.

B. The Program will be administered in conjunction with the Aroostook County Action Program (ACAP). ACAP will certify that the customer is eligible for HEAP benefits, specifically, determine the customer's income level when compared to the Federal Poverty guideline, and determine whether the customer uses electricity as his or her primary heating source or uses an electric water heater (i.e. a device the principal purpose of which is heating water electrically). Once certified as eligible, the customer will then be referred to the Company who will enroll the customer in the Program. The Company shall also make the Program available to those of its LifeLight customers (those who require electrically powered, life support medical equipment between 16 and 24 hours per day) who qualify for the income levels of the Program after reducing such customers' current annual income by $600.00.

C. To participate in the Program, the customer must agree to pay either the smaller D of his or her bill or an equal monthly payment during the months of November through March, and allow the Company and ACAP to share information about the customer. Certain C customers must also agree to accept a specially designed energy audit.

D. Customers who satisfy the Program requirements will receive the Program benefits in the form of a credit to their account, which credit will appear on the customer's May or June bill.

II. Program Participation Requirements:

A. A qualified Program Participant:

1. Must take service from the Company under Rate A.

2. Must be eligible for and receive HEAP benefits during the 1993-94 Program year.

3. Must use electric heat as his or her primary space heating source or use an electric water heater as his or her primary water, heating source.

4. Must allow the Company and the Aroostook County Action Program (ACAP) share information about the customer with each other.

5. Must agree to pay, during the months of November through March, the smaller of his or her bill or an equal monthly payment. The Company will offer to any customer who enters the Program with* an arrears balance of $100.00 or more an individualized special payment arrangement: with the purpose of establishing affordable payments during the November-March period.

6. If the customer's usage in the prior November through March period was 4,000 kwh or more and the customer had an arrearage of $100.00 or more on November 1, the customer must accept a specially-designed low-income energy audit (as set forth in Sheets 67 and 68 of the Company's Terms and Conditions), unless previously provided with such audit, as a result of participating in any prior Program.

B. Notwithstanding items (2) and (3), a Company LifeLight customer will be eligible For the Program, if, after reducing, his or her earned income by $600.00, the customer is at or below 150% of Federal Poverty guidelines.

III. Program Terms.

A. Eligible customers from 0% to 75% of the Federal Poverty guidelines, will receive an annual benefit of $150.00.

B. Eligible customers from 76% to 100% of the Federal Poverty guidelines will receive an annual benefit of $125.00.

C. Eligible customers from 101% to 125% of the Federal Poverty guidelines will receive an annual benefit of $100.00.

D. Eligible customers from 126% to 150% of the Federal Poverty guidelines will receive an annual benefit of $75.00.

E. The benefits set forth in (A), (B), (C) and (D) will appear as a credit on the customer's May or June bill.

F. Customers must make the minimum payment required under II (A) (5) to continue eligibility in the Program. A customer who defaults will be removed from the Program. However. any customer who does not make such payment by the due date will not be considered in default If all payments are received prior to the due date of the customer's payment for the month of March or April or until the customer is certified HEAP eligible, whichever is later.

IV. Program Administration

A. With exception of LifeLight customers, all participating customers will be certified by ACAP at the time they apply for HEAP benefits. ACAP will provide the Company with the information obtained from the customer at the time the customer enrolls in HEAP. Because ACAP does not certify all of its clients as HEAP eligible until May of any Program year, the customer will receive the Program benefit during any Program year if the customer maintains the eligibility standards set forth in Part II and is certified by ACAP to be HEAP eligible any time during the Program year.

B. After receiving the information from ACAP, the Company will enroll the customer in the Program and monitor that customer's performance to ensure eligibility.

C. The Company shall reimburse ACAP for its costs of administering the Program.

D. The Company will directly notify its LifeLight customers of the Program and will certify and enroll in the Program such of these customers as are eligible.

E. The Company will notify its customers of the Program through the following means:

1. Through its annual offer of Special Payment Arrangements (SPA) to previous SPA customers.
2. To all customers who request an SPA or a Regular Payment Arrangement.
3. Through a bill stuffer to all customers.
4. Through additional media advertising as it deems necessary.

V. Company Obligations

A. The total cost of the benefits available under this Program is estimated not to exceed $248,000 annually.

B. The Company will evaluate the results of the Program and report the same by August 1 of each year. This evaluation, in addition to the same topics as the Company's 1992-93 Report, shall also include:

1. The number of disconnection notices issued correlated to income level, monthly payment obligation and November 1, 1993 past due balance.

2. The number and type of payment arrangements negotiated including the monthly payment amount required for both standard and individualized SPAs.

3. The number of disconnections for non-payment correlated to income level, monthly payment obligation and November 1, 1993 past due balance.

Effective October 28, 1993

Docket No. 93-158