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Heating assistance available for eligible households, customers affected by COVID-19

NAPERVILLE, Ill. – Aug. 6, 2020 – As the public health and economic impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continue, Nicor Gas is committed to supporting its customers and communities to ensure every family has peace of mind that their homes will be warm, businesses will keep running and families stay safe.  

Income-qualified households, or those facing financial hardship due to COVID-19, may be eligible for energy assistance programs, extended payment options and energy-savings measures from Nicor Gas. 

Enrollment for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is underway and will continue through June 30, 2021 or until funds are exhausted. The federal- and state-funded energy assistance program provides qualifying households with monetary relief for energy bills. Program registration is open to all households with income up to 200% of the federal poverty guideline, or about $52,400 for a family of four. In Illinois, LIHEAP is administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. For more information, or to locate a local agency, call 877-411-9276 or visit liheapillinois.com.

LIHEAP eligible households also may qualify for the Percentage of Income Payment Plan. PIPP households pay a percentage of their income toward their utility bill and receive a reduction in outstanding utility bills for every on-time payment made.

“Everyone deserves access to safe and reliable natural gas service,” said John O. Hudson, III, president of Nicor Gas. “We understand these are trying times for many of our customers and hope these additional support measures help those who may be struggling to pay their bills.”  

Additional energy assistance programs available to Nicor Gas customers are:

  • The Nicor Gas Sharing Program provides one-time grants to qualified residential customers. The program is administered by the Salvation Army and funded through direct contributions from Nicor Gas employees and customers who can make donations via their monthly gas bill payment. Since its inception, the Nicor Gas Sharing Program has provided financial assistance to 99,000 Illinois households.

  • The Nicor Gas Budget Plan provides a convenient way for customers to plan for and pay their monthly natural gas bill. Customers pay a more consistent amount by estimating natural gas usage and natural gas prices for the next year. They would then adjust quarterly to allow a credit balance to build up and help offset bills that may be higher during the winter heating season. 

  • Nicor Gas’ Energy Efficiency Program helps customers manage their costs by lowering out-of-pocket expenses for energy efficiency improvements through rebates for energy efficient equipment, energy assessments and free energy-saving products. For more energy-saving tips, visit nicorgas.com/residential/ways-to-save.html.

These additional programs are to assist Nicor Gas customers who may be affected by the ongoing pandemic:

  • Nicor Gas’ COVID-19 Bill Payment Assistance Program is intended to provide eligible residential customers with relief from high arrearages incurred as a result of financial hardship caused by the ongoing pandemic.  Eligible customers can receive a grant of up to $300 towards their account balance automatically after receiving a LIHEAP or Sharing Program grant. This program will continue until funds are exhausted.

  • Eligible residential customers can receive an Energy Aide Grant up to $250 toward past due balances; this grant does not need to be repaid by the customer. The Nicor Gas Energy Aide program is administered by select local agencies.

  • Voluntary suspension of residential service disconnections for nonpayment through Aug. 30 to ensure that those who may have difficulty paying their bills or whose jobs are affected by COVID-19 do not face the added hardship of interruption of services.

  • Nicor Gas will waive reconnection fees and restore service for residential customers who were disconnected due to nonpayment up to one year prior to June 18, 2020 upon request by the customer.

  • Nicor Gas is offering residential customers the opportunity to pay off past due account balances in 24 monthly installments, without a down payment requirement. Residential customers who currently have an active payment arrangement may renegotiate their terms to 24 monthly installments; terms may be renegotiated if a customer’s financial situation changes or if they default after enrollment.

  • Nicor Gas also is offering commercial and industrial sales service customers an opportunity to enroll in more flexible payment arrangements for a limited period.   

For more information about each of these programs or help managing natural gas costs due to economic hardships related to the ongoing pandemic, please call 888.Nicor4U (642.6748) or visit nicorgas.com/energyassistance. 

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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 2.2 million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago. For more information, visit nicorgas.com.

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 4.2 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states with approximately 700,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines, asset management for natural gas wholesale customers and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit southerncompanygas.com. 

Media Contact:
Jennifer Golz
o: 630.388.3737  |  c: 331.222.8716 |  jgolz@southernco.com