CLEVELAND, Oct. 19, 2009 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion East Ohio reminds its residential and small commercial customers of the availability of various energy assistance programs, payment options and weatherization assistance, to help with upcoming winter heating bills, or past due balances.
As an order of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, the Winter Reconnection Order allows any residential customer of Dominion East Ohio to restore service or to avoid a shutoff, by paying no more than $175--plus a $33 reconnect fee that will be billed to the account. Under the plan, customers who have had service disconnected because of nonpayment can have their service restored by paying the amount they owe Dominion, not to exceed $175.
There is no income eligibility requirement to use this program, and customers will be enrolled in the Current-Plus payment plan to help pay off any past-due balance. The reconnection plan can only be used once between now and April 15, 2010. To take advantage of the reconnection plan, customers should call Dominion East Ohio toll free at 1-800-362-7557.
Dominion East Ohio offers the following payment plans to residential and small commercial customers who use 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 will review the budget amount regularly, and adjust it, if necessary so that the customer will not have a high balance or large credit at the end of the budget year. Budget Plus may be available for customers with a past-due balance. Customers pay a budget amount, plus 1/12th of the total account balance at the time they enroll in the plan. To sign up for either plan, customers should call Dominion East Ohio at 1-800-362-7557.
- Current-Plus Plan is available for eligible customers with a past-due balance. They can pay their current monthly bill, plus one-sixth of the total account balance at the time they enroll in the plan.
- One-Third Winter Heating Plan, customers pay one-third of their total account balance each month for bills that include gas used from Nov. 1, 2009 through April 15, 2010. If a customer has a balance remaining at the end of the winter heating season, Dominion will automatically enroll a customer in the Current-Plus Plan.
There also are a number of government energy assistance programs available for customers on low or fixed incomes. Customers can apply for all programs with one application at www.odod.state.oh.us or at post offices and libraries, or by calling 1-800-282-0880. Income eligibility is required.
The government assistance programs include:
- Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program (E-HEAP) provides a grant to help avoid a shutoff or to restore service once between Nov. 2, 2009 through March 31, 2010. Local community action agencies can assist with emergency payments to help avoid disconnection. Call 1-800-282-0880 for an appointment, or in Cuyahoga County call 216-518-4014.
- Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides a one-time credit for heating bills, based on income. Income guidelines increased this year to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Call 1-800-282-0880 for application information or go to www.energyhelp.ohio.gov To qualify, a customer's yearly gross household income can be up to $21,660 for one person; $29,140 for two people; $36,620 for three; $44,100 for four; $51,580 for five; and $59,060 for six. Add $7,480 for each additional person.
- Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) helps income-eligible customers maintain gas service by paying 10 percent of their total monthly gross household income year-round. To qualify, a customer's yearly gross household income can be up to $16,245 for one person; $21,855 for two people; $27,465 for three; $33,075 for four; $38,685 for five; and $44,295 for six. Add $5,610 for each additional person.
- Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP) is a federally funded program that provides grants to eligible customers for home weatherization projects. For details call 1-800-282-0880.
Dominion East Ohio also offers programs to assist customers. They include:
- EnergyShare is a program of last resort when all other energy assistance programs are exhausted. Funded by Dominion East Ohio, eligible customers can receive a one-time payment for any type of winter heating bill. Apply starting January 2, 2010 through May 31, 2010 (or until funds are exhausted), at a local Salvation Army office. Customers also can contribute to the EnergyShare program. Participation guidelines are printed on customer bills.
- Medical Certificate Program delays a shutoff, or restores 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 7 days. To receive a medical certification form, call 1-800-950-7989.
- Housewarming Program, funded by Dominion East Ohio, provides weatherization assistance to help eligible customers reduce their energy usage. For information, call 1-888-377-3774.
For more information about any program, visit www.dom.com or call 1-800-362-7557.
Dominion East Ohio is a subsidiary of Dominion (NYSE: D), one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of more than 27,500 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage systems and serves retail energy customers in 12 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at www.dom.com.
SOURCE: Dominion East Ohio