Dominion East Ohio Reminds Customers Of PUCO Winter Reconnection Order, Payment Programs For Winter Heating Energy Assistance

CLEVELAND, Oct. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion East Ohio reminds customers of available company payment plans and government energy assistance programs designed to help them maintain winter natural gas service.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has issued its annual Winter Reconnection Order, which allows any Dominion East Ohio residential customer to restore service or to avoid a shutoff between now and April 15, 2014, by paying $175. Under the order, customers, who have had service disconnected for nonpayment, can have their service restored by paying the amount they owe Dominion, or $175, whichever is less.

A reconnect fee of $33, plus applicable taxes, also will be billed to the account if the service has been disconnected.

There is no income eligibility requirement to use this program, and customers will be enrolled in a payment plan to help pay off any past-due balance. The reconnection plan can be used only once between October 14, 2013, and April 15, 2014. To use this reconnection plan, customers can call Dominion East Ohio at 1-800-362-7557.

The company strongly urges customers who know they will not be able to maintain regular payments to contact Dominion East Ohio immediately to inquire about payment plans and energy assistance programs.

Dominion East Ohio offers the following payment options to residential and small commercial customers (using less than 500 thousand cubic feet (MCF) a year):

  • Budget Billing allows customers to pay a fixed budget amount each month, based on annual gas usage. Dominion East Ohio periodically reviews the budget amount and adjusts it, if necessary, so that the customer will not have a high balance or large credit at the end of the budget year. Customers should call Dominion East Ohio for more information.
  • Current-Plus Plan: Customers with a past-due balance pay their current monthly bill, plus 1/6th of the total account balance at the time they enroll in the plan.
  • The One-Ninth Plan allows customers to pay one-ninth of their total account each month plus a calculated budget amount.
  • Under the One-Third Winter Heating Plan, customers pay one-third of their total account balance each month for bills that include gas used from November 1, 2013, through April 15, 2014.
  • Short–Term Extension grants up to five additional days to pay before the next bill date.
  • A Medical Certification Program can delay a shutoff, or restore service, when it could be life threatening, or especially dangerous to the health of a permanent member of the household. Verbal certification may be accepted by a licensed medical professional, provided that Dominion East Ohio receives the written notification within seven days. To receive a medical certification form, call 1-800-950-7989.

Government Assistance Programs
The following programs are available for income-eligible customers. Customers can apply for all programs with one application at www.energyhelp.ohio.gov. Applications also are available at post offices and libraries or by calling 1-800-282-0880.

Winter Crisis Program: This statewide program can provide income-eligible households a one-time payment to help avoid a shutoff or to restore service due to nonpayment. Call 1–800–282–0880.

PIPP Plus: This special payment plan, developed by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio,  is available to customers with total household incomes at or below 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines. Under PIPP Plus, participating customers may maintain their natural gas service by paying 6 percent of their total gross monthly household income, or $10, whichever is greater.

PIPP Plus has special benefits for participating customers. Each time customers make their required PIPP Plus monthly payments in full by the due date, Dominion East Ohio will credit their account for the rest of that month's current charges, plus a 1/24th credit toward their prior account balance. After 24 months of on-time and in-full PIPP Plus payments, their accounts would become current.

Along with lower payments and balance crediting, PIPP Plus also carries the following responsibilities:

  • Customers will have 30 days from their PIPP Plus anniversary date to make up any missed payments, or they will be removed from PIPP Plus. NOTE: Income-eligible customers interested in re-enrolling or maintaining participation in PIPP Plus must pay any remaining plan arrears in excess of $175 with their first bill following the $175 payment.
  • If participating customers do not re-verify their gross monthly household income once every 12 months, they will be removed from PIPP Plus. Customers can re-verify sooner if their household size or income changes.

Customers who no longer meet PIPP Plus income guidelines, and still have a balance, can enroll in the Graduate PIPP program. This plan allows any outstanding balance to be paid within 12 months of leaving the PIPP Plus plan. Incentive credits also are applied for on-time and in-full payments. PIPP Plus maximum yearly household gross income maximum levels for the 2013-2014 heating season are up to: $17,235 for one person; $23,265 for two people; $29,295 for three; $35,325 for four; $41,355 for five; $47,385 for six; $53,415 for seven; and $59,445 for eight. Add $6,030 for each additional person.

Other governmental energy assistance programs include: 
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides a one-time credit for heating bills for residential customers whose incomes are no more than 175 percent of federal poverty guidelines. To qualify, a customer's yearly gross household income can be up to $20,108 for one person; $27,143 for two; $34,178 for three; $41,213 for four; $48,248 for five; $55,283 for six; $62,318 for seven; and $69,353 for eight. Add $7,035 for each additional person. Call 1-800-282-0880 for application information or go to www.energyhelp.ohio.gov .

Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP) is a federally funded program that provides grants for home weatherization projects to customers whose incomes are no more than 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines. To qualify, a customer's yearly gross household income can be up to $22,980 for one person; $31,020 for two; $39,060 for three; $47,100 for four; $55,140 for five; $63,180 for six; $71,220 for seven; and $79,260 for eight. Add $8,040 for each additional person.

Dominion East Ohio Assistance
Dominion EnergyShare is a last-resort program after all other state and federal assistance is exhausted. The Salvation Army administers the Dominion-funded program. It is available to Dominion East Ohio customers with a shutoff off notice or who have been disconnected. Applications can be made December 1. Customers should contact their local Salvation Army Corps for more information or to schedule an appointment.

The Dominion-funded Housewarming Program also provides weatherization assistance to help eligible customers reduce their energy usage. For information, call the Cleveland Housing Network (CHN) at 1-888-377-3774.

Home Performance with Energy Star (HPwES) is an energy conservation program to help customers that exceed Housewarming income eligibility requirements. Participants receive a home energy assessment, make improvements and apply for rebates. For more information, contact GoodCents at 1-877-287-3416 or visit www.DEOHPwES.com  

For more information about any program, visit www.dom.com or call 1-800-362-7557, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Dominion East Ohio is unit of Dominion, one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 23,500 megawatts of generation, 11,000 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline and 6,400 miles of electric transmission lines.  Dominion operates one of the nation's largest natural gas storage systems, with 947 billion cubic feet of storage capacity, and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com.

SOURCE Dominion East Ohio



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