CHICAGO, April 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- While the jobless rate in Illinois is at its lowest in more than a year, ComEd recognizes that many of its customers are still feeling the effects of slow economic recovery. To assist customers who are facing a service suspension due to financial hardship, ComEd is offering its Helping Hand program to help them pay outstanding balances on their electricity bills.
Beginning April 18, up to $1 million will be made available for a "helping hand" from ComEd's customer assistance fund. For the third consecutive year, the company is offering this program, which is open to qualifying ComEd customers who have received a disconnection notice or who have been disconnected. Eligible residential customers, who pay 50 percent of their outstanding service suspension balance, and pay May, June and July bills on time and in full, can receive a credit from ComEd for the remaining 50 percent of the outstanding balance. Funds are limited and restrictions apply.
"Unemployment rates are decreasing, which is a positive sign of economic recovery, however many of our customers continue to face financial difficulty," said Anne Pramaggiore, president and chief operating officer, ComEd. "We are once again making the Helping Hand program available to immediately assist customers dealing with hardships by helping them keep their power on and better manage their electricity bills."
The Helping Hand program is one of several options available from ComEd to help customers who face short- and long-term financial challenges. This year, the company plans to distribute approximately $3 million through its CARE programs, which include Residential Special Hardship, and ComEd Helping Active Military Personnel (CHAMP).
Additionally, this fall ComEd is planning for a statewide launch of the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP). Introduced by State Senator Kimberly Lightford and State Representative Marlow Colvin, and signed into law last year, PIPP will help low-income customers by limiting how much they can be charged for utility services and by creating manageable monthly payment plans.
Customers can sign up for Helping Hand by visiting their local LIHEAP agency and providing a disconnection notice, income verification and hardship documentation. Helping Hand is available through May 13 or until funds are exhausted. For additional information on Helping Hand and other assistance programs customers can visit ComEd.com or call 888-806-CARE (2273).
Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), one of the nation's largest electric utilities with approximately 5.4 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state's population.