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Nicor Gas offers additional assistance for customers impacted by COVID-19

NAPERVILLE, Ill. – June 25, 2020 – As the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19 continue to evolve, Nicor Gas is committed to supporting customers by expanding financial assistance to those who have been impacted by the pandemic. More flexible payment options and additional direct bill payment assistance is in addition to the voluntary suspension of service disconnections for nonpayment Nicor Gas implemented March 18 for customers impacted by COVID-19.

Nicor Gas will also 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. The additional support measures are available for customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills as part of a joint agreement with the Illinois Commerce Commission staff and other key stakeholders.

“While we have been working to keep our communities safe to ensure reliable natural gas service, we understand these are trying times for many of our customers,” said Melvin D. Williams, president of Nicor Gas. “We will continue to seek ways to help customers who are facing financial hardship as the pandemic continues to impact Illinoisans.”

Nicor Gas encourages residential customers who were disconnected for nonpayment up to one year prior to June 18, 2020, to call 888.Nicor4U (642.6748) to discuss reconnection options and fee waivers.

Nicor Gas also is now offering other energy assistance options, including:

  • A special bill payment assistance program from Nicor Gas provides one-time grants of up to $300 toward past due balances to income-eligible residential customers impacted by COVID-19.
  • 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.  

These options are in addition to the programs that Nicor Gas already has in place to help customers manage natural gas costs, including:

  • 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.
  • 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 and adjusting 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.

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/covid-19.html.

Additionally, residential customers may be eligible for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The federally funded energy assistance program helps low- and fixed-income families meet their energy needs during the winter heating season. Eligibility is based on several factors, including fuel type, geographic region, household size and income.

The program is open to all households with income up to 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. In Illinois, LIHEAP enrollment begins earlier than usual on July 27; the program is administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. For more information, or to locate a local application agency, call 877-411-9276 or visit liheapillinois.com.

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 www.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 774,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas and related home services. 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 Southern Company Gas at southerncompanygas.com

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