COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — An area power company will be providing qualified residential customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills because of the COVID-19 pandemic up to $700 in bill assistance.
A Tuesday press release from Ameren Illinois stated under their ‘Fresh Start’ program, they have allocated $8 million in bill payment assistance funds.
A family of four with a monthly income of up to $4,367 can receive up to $400 for electric bills and $300 for natural gas bills. Ameren said people in that income range must first receive assistance from the Illinois Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) before applying for ‘Fresh Start’ funding.
People can apply for LIHEAP by visiting HelpIllinoisFamilies.com or calling 877-411-9276. If they still have a past-due balance after getting LIHEAP funds, people can apply for Fresh Start by calling Ameren Illinois at 1-800-755-5000, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Families of four that take in monthly incomes of $4,367-$7,642 can possibly receive up to $200 for electric bills and $150 for natural gas bills. Fresh Start funds for past-due customers in this income range are administered by the Energy Assistance Foundation. People can find the list of participating agencies and apply by visiting WarmNeighborsCoolFriends.org.
Income Guidelines are on a sliding scale based on family size. More information on income eligibility guidelines can be found online on Ameren’s website.
Payment plans are also available to people with past-due balances with Ameren, with repayment terms that can be extended up to 24 months.
More information on Ameren Illinois’ COVID-19 Economic Hardship Recovery programs can be found at AmerenIllinois.com/Recovery.
Almost 5,000 customers have received help through the ‘Fresh Start’ program since July 9.
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