Ameren Announces New Program For Hardship Cases

By News 25 Staff

July 15, 2010 Updated Sep 17, 2007 at 7:39 PM CDT

Ameren announced two programs today to help people hit hardest by higher electric bills.

This is part of the rate relief package for Illinois customers and is in partnership with the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies.

According to a company press release, "The Bill Payment Assistance Program and the Residential Hardship Assistance Program represent a $15 million effort over four years aimed at helping residential customers adjust to the new electric rates."

Ameren officials say this is in addition to the electric rate relief checks and bill credits and will provide additional aid to "residential electric customers who need it most.”

According to Ameren, the Bill Payment Assistance Program will provide $7 million over four years to low-income electric customers with household incomes of 150 percent to 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($30,975 to $41,300 for a family of four).

Grants of $150 will be provided to customers through the local Community Action Agencies that administer the Illinois Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program for the Illinois Department of Healthcare & Family Services.

Through the Residential Hardship Assistance Program, the Ameren Illinois utilities will provide $8 million over four years for bill-payment assistance for residential customers with financial and unique hardships, such as medical situations, military deployment or family tragedy.

Local Community Action Agencies will distribute the funds to customers with household incomes of up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($82,600 for a family of four). Based on agency discretion, a maximum of $600 per household may be provided.

To check on eligibility click on news links.

Customers can call 1-800-252-8643 to find their local Community Action Agency and obtain more information or to apply for either program. For complete program guidelines, customers should visit www.ameren.com or call their Ameren Illinois utility (AmerenCILCO -- 888.672.5252; AmerenCIPS -- 888.789.2477; AmerenIP -- 800.755.5000).

The Community Action Agencies will evaluate applicants to determine eligibility based on income guidelines, and will qualify hardship situations. Eligible customers will then be awarded grants that will be applied to their Ameren Illinois utility bill, while funds last.

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