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New assistance program helps Nicor customers afford their gas bills

Nicor Gas and The Salvation Army are partnering to provide emergency assistance to help individuals and families pay their natural gas utility bills.

Funding through the Shield of Caring program will assist residential customers who are past due on their gas bill and report a financial hardship, such as a job loss, illness, military deployment or disability. Nicor has contributed $5 million of shareholder money to fund the program.

Residential customers of the northern Illinois utility with an income below 400 percent of the federal poverty level will be eligible to receive a grant of up to $250 once every two years to apply to their past due account balances. Customers who have received funds from LIHEAP, Nicor’s Sharing Program or Energy Aide during the current program year will be eligible only if there is still a past due balance on their Nicor Gas account.

The Salvation Army will distribute the financial assistance through its corps community centers and service extension units in Nicor’s service territory. Consumers can apply online for a Shield of Caring grant at ShieldOfCaring.com or by calling their local Salvation Army corps community center.

The applicant’s name must match the name on the Nicor bill. It may take up to 30 days for grants to be applied to customer accounts. 

The multiyear partnership is estimated to help more than 25,000 families.