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Energy Assistance Programs for Residential Customers

We believe everyone has the right to clean, safe and reliable natural gas. You deserve peace of mind when it comes to paying your bill. If you’re experiencing financial hardship and aren't able to pay your bill, explore the available energy assistance funds through the below programs or agencies. For additional help understanding your options, finding the right grant or understanding your bill, please call 888.642.6748. We're here to help and support you.

Shield of Caring

The Salvation Army, Nicor Gas announce $5 million Shield of Caring energy assistance and basic needs program

Shield of Caring is a new energy and emergency assistance program administered by The Salvation Army to help residential customers who are past due on their natural gas utility bill and report a financial hardship, such as a job loss, illness, military deployment or disability. Nicor Gas residential customers with a household gross income in the last 30 days below 400% of the Federal Poverty Level may be eligible to receive a grant of up to $250 once every two years to apply to their past due account balances. Customers who are eligible to receive assistance grants from other programs, such as LIHEAP or Sharing, should apply for a grant from these programs. Customers who still have a past-due account balance after receiving assistance from those programs may be eligible to receive a grant under the Shield of Caring Program. A portion of the funds will also support The Salvation Army’s basic needs programs, such as emergency housing and rental assistance, food assistance and case management to help families identify barriers to self-sufficiency.

Shield of Caring


The federally funded energy assistance program helps low- and fixed-income families meet their energy needs during the winter heating season.  Contact your nearest Community Action Agency to enroll in LIHEAP to obtain the one-time grant.

Percentage of Income Payment Plan

Through PIPP, eligible Nicor Gas customers pay a percentage of their monthly income to maintain utility service. The PIPP offers an affordable payment plan and a chance to eliminate past-due balances.

Energy Aide Program

The Nicor Gas Energy Aide Program provides qualifying households with monetary relief for their natural gas bills. Eligibility is based on several factors, including household size and income.

Shield of Caring Program

The Shield of Caring Program provides up to $250 in grants for customers with past-due balances that meet income requirements.

Sharing Program

Contact your local Salvation Army office to enroll in the Sharing Program to obtain the one-time grant. 

Community Connection Center

If you need help navigating which options may best suit your needs, the Nicor Gas Community Connection Center (C3) team can assist. To contact the C3 team, visit

Do I Qualify for Energy Assistance?

Different assistance programs have different requirements. The main difference is the household income limit for each program. The table below shows the maximum gross monthly household income amounts to qualify for energy assistance programs.


Energy Assistance Income Thresholds

Budget Plan

Nicor Gas Budget Plan provides a convenient way for customers to plan for and pay their monthly natural gas bill. Customers pay a consistent amount every month for a 12-month period, allowing a credit balance to build up and help offset winter bills that may be higher due to increased natural gas usage.

How it Works

We calculate your monthly payment by estimating your natural gas use and gas prices for the next 12 months. We also take into account your current account balance. This total is then divided by 12 to arrive at your monthly Budget Plan payment amount. During the summer months, your Budget Plan payment amount will typically be higher than your actual bill. Paying this higher amount allows you to build up a credit balance, which is then used to offset higher winter bills. On the other hand, there may be months when the amount billed to your account is higher than the payments you've made.

Reevaluating Your Budget Plan Payment

If you miss a Budget Plan installment and your account has an overall budget deficit, a late payment charge will be assessed. The late payment charge is computed on the late installment only, not on the accumulated deficit amount. If you fall two payments behind, you will be removed from the Budget Plan. You may be reinstated by paying any unpaid installments.

Additional Support

United Way

Dial 211 to speak with a representative from the Illinois United Way Referral Center to learn about organizations in your area that have available assistance. You can also visit their website here to enter your zipcode and find your local contact. A map of service areas can be found here.

Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP)

Qualified low-income households can receive weatherization assistance to save energy and money. IHWAP helps income-qualified customers access affordable energy services and increase the quality and comfort in their homes. Free measures and upgrades may include:

  • Air sealing
  • Attic and wall insulation
  • Furnace repair and replacement

Eligibility depends on the combined household income of everyone living in the unit. Households with a combined income at or below 150% of the federal poverty level using State and HHS funds and those at or below 200% of the federal poverty level using DOE funding are eligible. Nicor Gas offers similar services for customers with income levels up to 80% of Area Median Income.

Contact the Community Action Agency for your area with any questions, to check if you’re eligible or to apply for assistance.

ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions

If you or someone you know is having trouble paying bills, reach out to ClearPoint, a national, nonprofit credit counseling agency at 800.251.2227 (866.616.3717 for Spanish) or visit (Usted puede visitar la versión del español Idioma del sitio haciendo clic aquí.)

Need a payment arrangement? 

In addition to energy assistance programs, we offer flexible payment arrangements. 
Call us at 888.642.6748 to make a payment arrangement.