As the seasons change and temperatures begin to fall, Nicor Gas wants to remind senior and disabled customers who may be eligible for financial assistance to take advantage of funds available that help offset winter heating costs. Beginning Sept. 1, qualifying customers can apply for the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) prior to the general enrollment period. Families with children five or under and customers with interrupted services can enroll beginning Oct. 1. General enrollment for all other qualified customers will begin Nov. 1.
Administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, LIHEAP is a federal block grant that provides resources to states to help low-income families meet their energy assistance needs. The program, which provides heating assistance to low- and fixed-income residents, including working families with young children and senior citizens, allows a one-time annual payment to help offset a consumer’s energy costs.
Under the income guidelines for LIHEAP, a household’s combined monthly income for the 30 days prior to application may not exceed 150 percent of the federally established poverty level. For more information about LIHEAP or to locate a local application agency, residents can call 877.411.9276 (WARM).
The Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) program also will be available starting Sept. 1 for LIHEAP eligible households. Under PIPP, eligible households pay a percentage of their income toward their utility bill, supplemented by a monthly benefit. Participating households are eligible for a reduction in outstanding utility bills for every on-time payment they make. LIHEAP and PIPP are funded as part of the stopgap funding plan signed into law by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. Applicants will be served on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is exhausted.
Nicor Gas Sharing Program also provides a one-time annual grant to qualified residential customers. Administered by the Salvation Army, the Sharing Program is funded by direct contributions from Nicor Gas’ customers and employees. Customers can make donations via their monthly gas bill payment. IEF