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Worried about expensive utility bills? Check out these resources for Illinois consumers

As energy prices skyrocket and an expensive  summer approaches, CUB has compiled a list of resources to help consumers who are struggling with their bills. Please share this blog post  with your friends and family. 

If you or someone you know is having trouble paying for utility services, the first step is to contact the utility. They will know what assistance is available and can give you information about special payment plans available to help you pay off your bills over a longer period of time. Below is contact information for the major utilities: 

General 

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, LIHEAP is designed to help eligible low-income households pay for energy service. Read CUB’s fact sheet.

Electric 

ComEd Payment Assistance

ComEd offers due date extensions, payment plan arrangements and fee waivers for eligible customers. 

Ameren Payment Assistance

Ameren Illinois offers several forms of financial assistance, including short-term, one-time payment extensions and fixed monthly payment agreements to settle past balances. (For example, Warm Neighbors Cool Friends provides year-round energy bill payment assistance and home weatherization to make harsh winters and hot summers bearable. Eligible households can receive $350 during the heating season and $200 during the cooling season.)

Gas

Peoples Gas Share the Warmth

Administered by the Community and Economic Development Association (CEDA), Share the Warmth provides heating grants to limited and fixed-income households. Eligible customers who make a payment toward their bills receive matching grants of up to $200. Also available for North Shore Gas customers.

Nicor Gas Sharing Program

Qualified residential customers can receive a one-time annual Sharing Grant of $350 or $400, with no requirement to pay back. The program is administered through the Salvation Army.

Ameren Payment Assistance

Ameren Illinois offers several forms of financial assistance, including short-term, one-time payment extensions and fixed monthly payment agreements to settle past balances. (For example, Warm Neighbors Cool Friends provides year-round energy bill payment assistance and home weatherization to make harsh winters and hot summers bearable. Eligible households can receive $350 during the heating season and $200 during the cooling season.)

Water

Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)

A new temporary federal program offers one-time payments to qualifying customers who are struggling to pay their water and wastewater bills during the pandemic. Read CUB’s fact sheet.

Chicago Utility Billing Relief (UBR) Program 

Administered by the City of Chicago, the UBR Program provides low-income Chicago residents with a reduced rate on their water, sewer, and water-sewer tax, as well as debt relief for those who demonstrate they can manage the reduced rate bills for one year.

Additional resources 

Receiving assistance in other areas, such as housing, can free up more money to pay your utility bills.

www.FindHelp.org

This website uses your zip code to connect you to nearby resources (ranging from housing to healthcare and more). 

Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), this program helps secure stable housing for families, and ensure that tenants and Housing Providers/Landlords are financially secure to prevent a tide of evictions due to COVID-19.

Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot 

Through this program, 5,000 Chicagoans will be selected in  a citywide open application and lottery to receive $500 per month for twelve months, with no strings attached.


If after reading this article, contacting your utility and/or contacting the above resources, you have further questions, you can file an inquiry or complaint online or call CUB toll-free at 1-800-669-5556 and speak to a consumer rights specialist.

Note: CUB does not provide financial assistance and has no affiliation with any of the listed programs. All information is accurate to the best of our knowledge.