CLEVELAND, Oct. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As the winter heating season approaches, Dominion Energy Ohio is offering customers facing financial hardship more flexible payment options on past-due balances and increased financial support for EnergyShare, our program supporting families and individuals in need. The company remains committed to providing safe, economical and reliable energy, even as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact communities across the country.
During the period ahead, the company strongly encourages customers to take advantage of the resources being made available, chief among them more flexible payment plans. Customers can learn more by calling 1-800-362-7557. Information is also available 24/7 online at DominionEnergy.com, search billing options & assistance.
1. Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Winter Reconnection Order: The company also reminds customers of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio's annual Winter Reconnection Order, which took effect October 5, earlier than usual. All residential customers, regardless of income, may avoid a shutoff or restore gas service once during the heating season, between October 5 and through April 15, 2021 by paying the lesser of:
the entire past-due balance on your gas bill;
the past-due payments if you are on a special payment plan;
If service has been disconnected, a reconnect fee of $33, plus applicable taxes, will be billed to the account. Customers will be enrolled automatically in the One-Ninth Payment Plan when using the Winter Reconnection Order to help pay off any additional past-due balances. Customers may select a different plan by calling Dominion Energy Ohio.
2. Dominion Energy Payment Plans: If customers are having trouble paying their bills, the company offers both short-term payment extensions and long-term payment plans to help residential and commercial customers manage their balances and catch up over time. Customers may qualify for one of several Dominion Energy or State of Ohio programs. Dominion offerings include:
Budget Billing allows customers to pay a fixed budget amount each month, based on annual gas usage. Dominion Energy 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 the company for more information.
Budget Plus: The company offers additional flexibility for customers who enroll in our Budget Plus payment plan. Under Budget Plus, we are now allowing customers to pay their budget payment, plus an amount against their past-due balance over a maximum of 12 months. Previously, the length was limited to 9 months. Please contact us to discuss whether additional payment options may be available.
Current-Plus Plan: Customers with a past-due balance can pay their current monthly bill, plus an installment of the total account balance at the time they enroll in the plan that spreads the balance over multiple months.
The One-Ninth Plan allows customers to pay one-ninth of their total account balance 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, 2020, through April 15, 2021.
Short-Term Extension grants up to five additional days to pay before the next bill date.
3. EnergyShare: Dominion Energy offers direct help through EnergyShare, our program for those facing financial hardships, who have exhausted all other forms of energy assistance. The Salvation Army administers the program. EnergyShare is funded with company contributions and supplemented with donations from customers and employees. To meet continuing customer needs during the pandemic and for the upcoming winter season, the company has added $750,000 to the program, on top of its usual $230,000 annual contribution and an additional donation of $150,000 made this year.
Customers who are not eligible to participate in Ohio's Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP Plus) program may apply for EnergyShare assistance between October 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021, or until funds run out, to receive a maximum payment of $800. To qualify, a customer's yearly gross household income must be at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for eligibility or the head of household is unemployed, or the applicant is experiencing financial hardship.
PIPP Plus-eligible customers may apply for EnergyShare between December 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021, or until funds run out, for a maxim payment of $300. Note: PIPP Plus customers must wait to apply for HEAP November 1,to ensure this program is used as a last resort option to avoid disconnection.
Here are other important EnergyShare details:
Participants must be Dominion Energy Ohio residential customers.
To qualify, a customer's yearly gross household income must be at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Those income levels are $38,280 for one person; $51,720 for two people; $65,160 for three; $78,600 for four; $92,040 for five; $105,480 for six; $118,920 for seven; and $132,360 for eight. Add $13,440 for each additional person.
Dominion Energy Ohio's Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (HPwES) Program through CLEAResult has been designed to help our residential customers improve their homes' energy efficiency. It all starts with a home energy assessment, now available for $25, which is a 50 percent discount through October 31. Whether customers are making energy-efficient improvements to their current home or recently purchased a new home, they can benefit from having a home energy assessment. Rebates up to $1,250 are available for eligible improvements. Customers may call 1-877-287-3416 to schedule an assessment or visit www.deohpwes.com for program details and eligibility information.
5. 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, which provides income guidelines as well. Applications also are available at libraries, some banks and your local home energy assistance provider, or by calling the Ohio Development Services Agency at 1-800-282-0880. Hearing-impaired customers with Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf can call 711.
Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP Plus): To qualify for this special payment plan, developed by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, a customer's yearly gross household income can be up to 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 Energy Ohio will credit their accounts for the rest of that month's current charges, plus a one-twenty-fourth credit toward their prior account balances. After 24 months of on-time and in-full PIPP Plus payments, their accounts will become current. The new PIPP Plus maximum yearly household gross income levels for the 2020-2021 program year are: $19,140 for one person; $25,860 for two people; $32,580 for three; $39,300 for four; $46,020 for five; $52,740 for six; $59,460 for seven; and $66,180 for eight. Add $6,720 for each additional person.
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides a one-time heating bill credit during the winter heating season. HEAP is available to customers whose yearly gross household income is up to 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
The Winter Crisis Program (WCP), previously known as Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program (E-HEAP), provides a one-time grant to help avoid a shutoff or to restore service once between November 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. E-HEAP and WCP are available to customers whose yearly gross income is up to 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Local community action agencies can assist with emergency payments to help avoid disconnection. You can find available resources in your community -- dial 2-1-1 or visit http://ouw.org/211-map/.
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 $25,520 for one person; $34,480 for two people; $43,440 for three; $52,400 for four; $61,360 for five; $70,320 for six; $79,280 for seven; and $88,240 for eight. Add $8,960 for each additional person.