June 8, 2020
The RPC is encouraging Champaign County customers who are having difficulty paying their Ameren Illinois utility bills to apply for financial assistance from a state energy grant program.
The RPC is the designated community action agency that administers the Illinois Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a federally funded program that provides utility bill payment assistance to families and individuals who meet income-eligibility guidelines. Additional funding for the LIHEAP program was allocated under the federal CARES Act passed by Congress earlier this year to address challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. One-time energy assistance grants are available through June 30 and available 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.
“Individuals from all walks of life have been impacted by COVID-19, including many who have never missed a bill payment of any kind,” said Richard J. Mark, Chairman and President, Ameren Illinois. “Many of our customers have probably never heard of LIHEAP, but it is an invaluable resource that can help them on the road to recovery. We cannot stress enough the need to take urgent action while these funds are available.”
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.
About Ameren Illinois
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and more than 800,000 natural gas customers in Illinois. Our mission is to power the quality of life. Our service territory covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com, find us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois or Facebook.com/AmerenIllinois.