A Glimmer of Light for Struggling Chicago Residents

April 20, 2011

A Chicago-area utility company that is trying to raise fees on its customers is also trying to help some of those customers out.

ComEd has launched its Helping Hand program to assist those who are facing a service suspension due to financial hardships from the slow economic recovery.

Beginning this week, up to $1 million will be made available as a “helping hand” from ComEd’s customer assistance fund.

smiling woman pointing to a lit-up light bulbThe program is available to ComEd residential customers who have received a disconnection notice or who have already been disconnected.

To be eligible, customers must pay 50 percent of their outstanding service suspension balance plus their May, June and July bills on time and in full. If you do all that, you can receive a credit from ComEd for the remaining 50 percent of the outstanding balance.

“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.”

This is the third year ComEd has offered the Helping Hand program. The company also has other options to help its customers facing financial challenges. This year, the company plans to distribute about $3 million through its CARE programs, which include the Residential Special Hardship program and ComEd Helping Active Military Personnel.

Plus, later this year, ComEd will unveil the Percentage of Income Payment Plan, a program that will help low-income customers by limiting how much they can be charged for utility services.

Helping Hand is available through May 13 or until funds run out. To sign up, visit your local Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) agency with your disconnection notice, income verification and hardship document.

For more information on this or other assistance programs, visit ComEd.com or call (888) 806-CARE (2273).

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