Utility bill help available for those affected by COVID-19

Local News
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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — One-time energy assistance grants are available to people who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grants are available via the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, which administers the Illinois Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. That federally-funded program (LIHEAP) received additional money allocated to it as a result of the passage of the the CARES act earlier this year.

Grants are available until June 30 on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused severe economic hardship for many residents in our community and many are having difficulty paying their energy bills,” says Dawn Rear, the RPC’s LIHEAP Coordinator. “Individuals who would not normally meet LIHEAP’s income qualifications may now be eligible for bill payment assistance because they were laid off or were furloughed from their jobs. We want Ameren Illinois customers to know that funds are available, but they have to act soon to apply.”

In March, Ameren Illinois suspended service disconnections and waived fees for late payment. However, past-due energy bill amounts continue to accrue and will increase as more customers work from home and the summer cooling season begins.

The best way to initiate the LIHEAP process is to schedule an appointment online at www.ccrpc.org/liheap. After the appointment is scheduled, an RPC representative will call the phone number provided to explain the steps and verify income eligibility. Individuals can also call 217-384-1226 to schedule an appointment, or if they have any questions about the application process.

For customers who do not meet income requirements for LIHEAP, Ameren Illinois is offering several alternative utility bill payment options designed to alleviate financial burdens during COVID-19. They can visit AmerenIllinois.com/recovery or speak to a customer service representative by calling 1-800-755-5000 for more details.

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