|Columbia helps with gas bills|
|Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff|
|Saturday, 05 January 2013 08:11|
Columbia Gas of Ohio recently announced it is making nearly $1 million available to income-eligible customers for assistance with paying their natural gas bills this winter heating season.
These fuel funds are in addition to established public energy assistance options such as the federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) and Ohio's PIPP Plus program.
The funds include:
• The Auction Fuel Fund contains $600,000 for the 2012-13 winter heating season. It is a fund of last resort for families who have exhausted all other available emergency assistance programs, and provides up to $250 per heating season. Households at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level qualify.
• The Crisis Fuel Fund, with $312,500 available, is a fund of last resort that provides up to $175 to customers who are disconnected or threatened with disconnection. Households at or below 175 percent of the Federal Poverty Level qualify.
• HeatShare, is available to those homes with income ranges at or below 15 percent the Federal Poverty Level and provides emergency assistance to payment-troubled households. HeatShare is supported by donations by customers and matching Columbia Gas contributions, and is administered by the Salvation Army.
Qualified Columbia customers may apply for these fuel funds through their local Community Action Agency. Local agency contact information is available at ColumbiaGasOhio.com or by calling Columbia's Customer Contact Center at (800) 344-4077.
"With all of the energy assistance programs available, there is no reason for any of our customers to go without heat this winter," said Columbia Gas of Ohio President Jack Partridge. "These additional funds should help those homes still feeling the impact of these difficult economic times."
Interrupting someone's service is always the last resort for Columbia Gas, and the company will work with customers to try to avoid disconnection.
At the first sign they may have problems paying their natural gas bills, customers should contact Columbia Gas of Ohio at (800) 344-4077. The customer service representatives can set up a payment plan for the customer, or refer them to an agency that can enroll qualified customers in one of the many available energy assistance programs.
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