NAPERVILLE, Ill. – March 25, 2021 – Nicor Gas is providing more than $10 million in bill payment assistance to customers through its COVID-19 Bill Payment Assistance Program, which provides eligible residential customers with assistance to those financially affected by the ongoing pandemic.
“We recognize that many of our customers across the communities we serve are still facing economic uncertainty and hardship caused by the pandemic,” said John O. Hudson III, president and CEO of Nicor Gas. “Our hope is this $10 million in bill payment assistance provides the customers who need it most with some relief that the clean, safe, reliable natural gas they expect will be there, freeing up family funds to put food on the table and meet additional needs.”
The Nicor Gas COVID-19 Bill Payment Assistance Program began with $7.5 million in funding when the program started last year in response to the pandemic. Since then, more than $6 million in financial assistance has been distributed to eligible residential customers, including the latest round of more than $2 million since March 1 that has been automatically credited to 15,000 customer accounts.
Funds available in the current COVID-19 Bill Payment Assistance Program provide grants up to $300 to customers who received LIHEAP or Nicor Gas Sharing Program assistance during the 2020-2021 heating season. Customers with account balances do not need to wait for a shut-off notice to apply. Once customers are qualified for either one of the programs and funds are applied to their account, a grant from the current COVID-19 Bill Payment Assistance Program grant will be automatically applied to a customer’s outstanding balance.
If eligible customers received a partial grant last year for arrearages (that may have been below the $300 limit) and if they are in need again, Nicor Gas is automatically applying an additional grant up to the $300 limit to their accounts. Eligible customers who have past-due balances now and didn’t receive a grant last year, will be credited the full $300.
Now even more customers will be supported thanks to a stipulation approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission that will allow Nicor Gas to request approximately $8 million in additional funding for the COVID-19 Bill Payment Assistance Program. Once approved by the ICC, grants up to $500 will be available for the hardest hit customers who are facing possible service disconnections. The additional bill payment assistance also will support commercial customers and reconnection assistance for eligible residential customers.
In addition to these programs, Nicor Gas residential customers can enroll in a 24-month deferred payment plan until July 31. The Nicor Gas website has more information about residential billing and payment options, additional assistance programs and resources.
For information about the Nicor Gas COVID-19 Bill Payment Assistance Program, visit nicorgas.com/energyassistance.
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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