Amid high energy prices, the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) is urging consumers who are struggling to pay their utility bills to call their utilities immediately to learn about protections available to stay connected to service. Some of those safeguards expire July 31.
“It’s been a rough year for utility customers, and it’s so important that people keep the lines of communication open with their utilities,” CUB Communications Director Jim Chilsen said. “Call your utilities to learn about energy assistance available and special payment plans to pay off your debt, and inquire about energy efficiency programs that can help soften the blow of these high prices.”
Energy prices are at unprecedented levels for natural gas and electric customers. The ComEd and Ameren summer power prices are up by a range of 60 percent to 120 percent. Natural Gas prices offered by utilities across the state are up to 130 percent higher than last year.
CUB and other consumer advocates have negotiated with utilities to create protections to help people stay connected. But many of those end July 31. The following is a summary of some protections, broken down by major utilities in the state:
- ComEd, Ameren Illinois, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas said they will not disconnect lower-income customers due to nonpayment, through July 31. Specifically, this covers customers who in 2022 have applied for or are receiving benefits through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP).
- ComEd: LIHEAP or PIPP customers can receive Deferred Payment Arrangements (DPAs) of 12 months, with no down payment, available through July 31. All other residential customers can sign up for a DPA of up to 12 months with 10 percent down until July 31.
- Ameren: The utility has publicly said qualified Ameren Illinois customers who are behind on their energy bills can establish an 18-month repayment plan with a 10 percent down payment through July 31. After July 31, most customers with outstanding balances will need to make a 25 percent down payment before they can establish a monthly payment plan
- Nicor: Customers can sign up for an 18-month deferred payment arrangement (DPA) with no down payment required.
- Peoples Gas/North Shore Gas: LIHEAP/PIPP customers or applicants are eligible for an 18-month DPA with no down payment required through July 31. All other residential customers may enroll in a 25 percent down, 18-month DPA through July 31.
CUB encourages consumers to call their utilities to ask if they’re eligible for these protections before they expire. Utility contact information:
- ComEd 1-800-334-7661
- Ameren 1-800-755-5000
- Nicor 1-888-642-6748
- Peoples Gas 1-866-556-6001 and North Shore Gas 1-866-556-6004
For more information about high energy prices, visit CUBHelpCenter.com.