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Three Important Steps To Keep from Getting Your Utility Service Cut Off During the Pandemic

If you’re struggling to pay your utility bills during this public health crisis, CUB has some guidance on what steps to take. For now, special protections available to you will go away on Dec. 26. Don’t wait to take action.

1) Call Your Utility:

As the utility company is the entity issuing the bill and the only entity with access to your account, your first call—no matter the issue—should always be to your utility. This is especially true now when the utilities currently have consumer protections that are only available to those customers who reach out to them directly.

You must contact your utility and express financial hardship to take part in consumer protections. Those protections include:

  • A moratorium on shut-offs until April 1, 2021. (Note: Since this blog was written, the moratorium has been extended to all customers. BUT customers must contact the utility to take advantage of these other protections before Dec. 26.)
  • Payment plans that allow you to pay off your debt with the company in equal monthly installments for up to 24-months.
  • A bill-payment assistance program–if you have already applied for funding from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) already.
  • Call your utility companies at these numbers:
    • Ameren Illinois – 1-800-755-5000
    • Aqua Illinois – 1-877-987-2782
    • ComEd – 1-800-334-7661
    • Illinois American Water – 1-800-422-2782
    • Nicor Gas – 1-888-642-6748
    • North Shore Gas – 1-866-556-6004
    • Peoples Gas – 1-866-556-6001
    • Utilities Inc. – 1-800-831-2359

 

2) Call LIHEAP

If you are in need of financial assistance to help pay your gas and electric bills, start with LIHEAP, 1-877-411-9276 (WARM). If you do not qualify or are in need of additional assistance, the utility also provides a bill-payment assistance program but you MUST try to apply for LIHEAP first.

 

3) Call CUB. 

If you don’t feel you have been given complete information by your utility, contact the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), at 1-800-669-5556, or through its online complaint form: https://www.citizensutilityboard.org/complaint-form/

 

For more information, read our fact sheet and check out our infographic on COVID-19 protections:

Click to view full image