Dominion East Ohio Gas Implements Winter Reconnection Procedures
* Payment options, customer assistance programs also detailed
CLEVELAND – Residential customers of Dominion East Ohio whose natural gas service has been disconnected, or those who are in danger of loss of service because of nonpayment, may restore service or avoid disconnection under special winter heating reconnection procedures in effect today through April 15, 2009.
The company is also reminding customers that there are a number of payment programs available to help even out the seasonal costs of natural gas services, as well as payment assistance for eligible customers.
In accordance with a Public Utilities Commission of Ohio order, Dominion East Ohio customers can maintain gas service or have it restored by choosing the lowest cost of the following options:
* Pay the entire past-due balance shown on the bill;
* Pay past-due default amount if a customer is on a special payment plan;
* Pay $175.
There is no income eligibility requirement to use this program, but customers will be enrolled in a payment plan to help pay off any past-due balance. The reconnection procedure can only be used once between now and April 15, 2009.
To take advantage of the reconnection procedure, customers should call Dominion East Ohio at 1-800-950-7989.
The following company payment plans also are available to help customers deal with winter heating bills:
* Dominion’s Budget Billing Plan enables customers to pay a fixed budget amount each month. Dominion East Ohio will review the budget amount periodically and adjust it, if necessary, so that the customer will not have a high bill or large credit at the end of the budget year. Customers must be current with their bill to be eligible for the budget billing option. To sign up, customers should call Dominion East Ohio at 1-800-362-7557.
* Dominion also offers to eligible customers the Current-Plus Plan to help better manage gas bills. First, the customer decides how many months—up to a total of six months—it will take to pay off the balance. Then the company divides the total account balance by the number of months the customer selected and adds that amount to the customer’s current monthly bill. The Current-Plus Plan is available to all residential customers who are not enrolled in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP). With the One-Third Payment Option, a payment of one-third of the total account balance is accepted to reconnect or prevent disconnection from Nov. 1, 2008, to April 15, 2009. To learn more about these payment options, call Dominion East Ohio at 1-800-362-7557.
Dominion East Ohio reminds all of its customers of the availability of various energy assistance programs and payment options to help with upcoming winter heating bills, or past due balances.
Income-eligible customers also may use a variety of energy assistance programs to help pay for natural gas service this winter:
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP): Funds again are available through the Home Energy Assistance Program. Typically, HEAP is open to customers whose household income is at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. This winter HEAP will be available to customers with incomes at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty level. Here are the Ohio HEAP household size and yearly gross household income levels: one person, up to $18,200; two, up to $24,500; three, up to $30,800; four, up to $37,100; five, up to $43,400; six, up to $49,700; seven, up to $56,000; and eight, up to $62,300. For households with more than eight members, add $6,300 per additional member.
Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP): Under PIPP, customers may maintain their natural gas service by paying 10 percent of their monthly gross household income. Here are this year’s income eligibility guidelines, which are up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level: one person, up to $15,600; two, up to $21,000; three, up to $26,400; four, up to $31,800; five, up to $37,200; six, up to $42,600; seven, up to $48,000; and eight, up to $53,400. For households with more than eight members, add $5,400 per additional member. Customers seeking HEAP or PIPP information should call the Office of Community Services at 1-800-282-0880. PIPP customers may not receive Emergency HEAP funds in addition to regular HEAP credits.
EnergyShare: This program, supported by donations from Dominion customers and its employees, is designed to help those in need heat their homes after all other assistance has been exhausted. To qualify for EnergyShare assistance, a person must live in Dominion’s service area and be in danger of losing an important heat source. The recipient must have a household income no more than one-half of the local median income level, be unemployed, or demonstrate a personal or family crisis. For information on the nearest screening agency, call 1-800-362-7557. All contributions are tax-deductible.
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