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Bill payment assistance grants available for Nicor Gas customers with past-due account balances

Applications now open for Nicor Gas’ Shield of Caring program

NAPERVILLE, IL – January 18, 2024 – Income-eligible Nicor Gas residential customers can apply for a grant of up to $250 a year through the Shield of Caring program, administered by The Salvation Army. Shield of Caring is an emergency assistance and homelessness prevention program that provides individuals and families in Nicor Gas’ service area with natural gas bill payment assistance and support for other basic needs, including housing and rental assistance, grocery packages and warm winter clothing items.

Nicor Gas founded the program in 2021 with the support of The Salvation Army through an initial $5 million contribution to help those impacted by the global health and financial crises. The company announced an additional $5 million commitment to expand the program in 2022. Since that time, more than 14,500 Nicor Gas customers have been the recipient of a Shield of Caring grant and 28,000 have received basic needs support, including warm winter coats, food boxes and emergency disaster services.

“Our partnership with The Salvation Army began in 1983, and from the beginning we shared a mutual interest of doing the most good in the communities we serve,” said Meena Beyers, vice president of Business & Community Development at Nicor Gas. “We know that the past few years have been a challenging time for our customers and the communities we serve. We remain committed to helping our neighbors receive the relief and assistance they need during these cold winter months, while keeping their homes warm all season long.”

Residential customers with a household gross income in the last 30 days below 400% of the Federal Poverty Level can apply at If a customer is eligible to receive financial assistance grants from other programs, such as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, they should apply for a grant from these programs first to maximize their benefits. LIHEAP is a federally funded bill payment assistance program that helps low- and fixed-income families meet their energy needs. For eligibility and to apply, visit or call 877-411-9276 (WARM).

In addition to Shield of Caring and LIHEAP, Nicor Gas currently offers additional resources to help customers pay and manage their natural gas bill and save on energy costs:

  • Sharing Program – One-time annual grants of up to $500 are given, with no requirement to be paid back, to qualified residential customers who meet the required income guidelines. Seniors and veterans approved for the program are provided an additional $150 grant. These funds are administered by The Salvation Army and are funded through direct contributions from Nicor Gas’ customers and employees.
  • Energy Aide Program – Provides qualifying households with a grant of up to $350 toward their past due balance and does not need to be paid back. Residential customers must be at or below 350% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
  • Payment arrangements – Provides eligible customers with more time to pay past-due balances and brings their account current to avoid possible service disconnections. Customers can check their eligibility for a payment arrangement by visiting
  • Budget Plan – Helps customers with current accounts avoid unpredictable bills from month to month by evening out the seasonal highs and lows of their bills through a monthly budgeted amount. Owed monthly amounts may be adjusted every four months to ensure that payments are in line with actual usage and the price of gas. Customers can check their eligibility for the Budget Plan by visiting
  • Energy Efficiency Program – Provides free home assessments, energy-saving products and incentives to help you save money and energy. Eligible income-qualified households may receive additional free services and equipment upgrades. Customers can call 877.866.4239 or visit
  • Community Connection Center (C3) – Helps customers navigate all the above options, as well as basic needs resources. Customers can contact the C3 team at or self-serve online and answer anonymous questions to get recommendations by visiting the Community Assistance Navigator tool.

To learn more about bill payment assistance programs, visit

About Nicor Gas
Nicor Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Nicor Gas serves more than 2.3 million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago. For more information, visit

About Southern Company Gas
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.3 million natural gas customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states with approximately 600,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas. Other businesses include investments in interstate pipelines and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit 

Media Contact:
Jennifer Golz