In response to this year's extreme cold and prolonged winter, Nicor Gas is relaxing some requirements for its Sharing Program to help qualified customers pay their utility bill.
Nicor customers have used approximately 25 percent more natural gas this winter season to keep up with the cold, resulting in higher bills for many families. To help those families out, Nicor launched the Extreme Winter Relief Fund on March 24. The fund will offer grants to eligible customers, without requiring a matching payment, for a limited time.
The interim guidelines for the fund will allow the company to give up to $300 to customers under the age of 65 and up to $350 to those older than 65 who meet all income and qualifying criteria and have made payment(s) totaling $75 within the last 60 days of their application. The program will run until April 28.
"We understand the harsh winter caused customers to use more natural gas to keep their homes warm, and as a result, some families may struggle to make payments on their heating bills," Nicor President Beth Reese said. "To counter some of the effects of the harsh winter, we have temporarily modified our Sharing Program to extend its financial assistance reach and provide more families in Illinois with relief on their heating costs."
After the April 28 deadline, the program, which is administered by the Salvation Army and supported by direct contributions from Nicor Gas customers, employees, and a company match, will go back to its original guidelines. Those guidelines involve giving a one-time grant to help working families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities pay winter heating costs.
To qualify, applicants must be a residential customer of Nicor with a payment due and have household income between 150 and 200 percent of the federally established poverty level. They must also be ineligible for state or federal energy assistance programs.
Those interested in applying can visit their local Salvation Army office and should bring proof of income, proof of residence (photo ID, including driver's license or state ID), proof of $75 payment within the last 60 days, and current Nicor bill.
If you're struggling to pay your Nicor bill and want to take advantage of other financial assistance or payment options, call 1-888-NICOR4U (1-888-642-6748).
You can find more information on the program at www.nicorgas.com.
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