CHICAGO, Dec. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- With unemployment rates in Illinois at record levels, ComEd today announced it still has more than $1 million in assistance available this year for eligible customers who are having trouble managing their electricity bills. Company officials said it is not too late to apply for the remaining assistance grants available through ComEd's 2009 CARE program.
"We recognize that customers may not realize there is help available," said ComEd President and Chief Operating Officer Anne Pramaggiore. "Some of our customers may be experiencing difficulties managing their electricity bills for the first time and we want to do everything we can to help those families most in need, particularly during the holidays," she added.
So far this year, ComEd customers have accessed almost $14 million in assistance dollars. To boost the amount of CARE dollars available in 2010, ComEd will match $2 for every $1 contributed by customers up to the first $100,000 through its CARE Power-Up contribution program during December.
ComEd has a number programs tailored to help customers regain their footing and get back on track with their bill payments.
The programs available are:
Residential Special Hardship Program
This program provides a one-time grant of up to $1,000 for residential customers with household incomes at or below 400 percent of the poverty level ($84,800 for a family of four) that identify a hardship. This can include medical hardship, military hardship, senior hardship, disability hardship, loss of employment, family crisis, property damage or victim of criminal activity. Applications are processed by Illinois Association of Community Action member agencies (IACAA) Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP offices).
ComEd Helps Activated Military Personnel (CHAMP)
CHAMP assists activated members of the military, including National Guard and Reserves, who have been called to active duty. Eligible participants qualify for a one-time stipend of up to $300, deferred billing arrangements, extended due dates, cancellation of late charges, deposit reduction or waiver and budget payment plan options.
This payment plan provides monthly credits to any active LIHEAP-approved electric space-heating account. Additionally, LIHEAP approved space-heating customers may qualify to participate in the Fresh Start Arrearage Reduction Program. This provides monthly credits of up to $150 a month. Customer arrearages are credited after six months of on-time payments.
ComEd CARE Power-Up Contribution Program
By making a voluntary contribution to the ComEd CARE Matching Program, customers can help those who are most in need pay their energy bills. During December, ComEd CARE will donate $2 for every $1 donated to the program, up to the first $100,000 of contributions received. To make a contribution, customers should check the box located on the back of their ComEd bills to include a donation along with their regular payments.
ComEd wants to do everything possible to help customers maintain their electricity service. Customers who are having problems paying their electricity bills are encouraged to visit ComEd.com for information, and call 1-888-806-CARE (2273) to speak to a customer service representative who can provide assistance and payment options.
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.