Contact: Beth Gianforcaro, 614-466-9491
Marty Berkowitz, 614-387-2962
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Oct. 15, 2012 – As temperatures drop, Ohioans are starting to crank up their home heating systems. Starting today, low-income Ohioans can benefit from additional relief for these utility services. Residential utility consumers can avoid a utility disconnection or restore their heating services by making a one-time payment of $175.
In September, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) issued a Winter Reconnection Order providing low-income consumers with this assistance. This option is available for consumers until April 15, 2013.
For households with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, funds provided through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Winter Crisis Program (WCP) or other energy assistance programs may be used to pay the $175 charge.
Households with incomes above 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines must enter into a payment plan for any remaining balance on their utility bills above $175.
If a consumer's heating service has already been disconnected, an additional $36 reconnection fee is required.
Consumers are encouraged to apply for assistance or contact their utility company to establish a payment plan before they face loss of service and additional reconnection fees.
"The Winter Reconnection Order has helped hundreds of thousands of Ohioans maintain utility service for heat during the winter months," said Ohio Consumers' Counsel Bruce J. Weston.
Other features of the PUCO's order are as follows:
OCC also offers the following information for customers struggling to keep pace with their heating bills on its website, www.pickocc.org:
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