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Winter heating assistance program begins Oct. 1

Madison and St. Clair counties will start accepting applications on Tuesday for their  home energy assistance program that helps residents with the cost of winter heating bills.

The counties have obtained funding through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The Illinois Home Energy Assistance Program is designed to assist citizens by offsetting the rising cost of home energy.

The program starts with a special priority period from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31 for senior applicants, age 60 or older, and/or household member with a disability, who may also be disconnected or is under imminent threat to have their utilities disconnected.

Beginning Nov. 1, households with children age 5 or under and households disconnected from their utilities, may apply. All other eligible households will be allowed to apply starting Dec. 1, 2019, through May 31, 2020, or until funds are depleted, whichever comes first.

The Madison County Community Development Energy Assistance Office says it is administering two programs this year.

The first is the traditional IHEAP assistance, which is a one-time payment towards the customer’s energy bill. The amount is determined by the household income and type of fuel used for heating.

The second program is the Percentage of Income Payment Program, offered to Ameren customers only. This program pays a monthly benefit toward the customer’s bill and the customer pays the remaining amount of their bill. The payment is determined by the household income and the type of fuels used for heating.

This program also has an arrearage reduction component for customers with large back bills. If the customer pays their portion of the monthly bill in full and by the due date, 1/12th of their arrearage, up to $1,000 per year, will be forgiven by the utility.

The PIPP program starts Oct. 1, applications are on a first-come, first-served basis each month until available funding per county, per utility and priority enrollment group is met. PIPP applications are available from October through Dec. 31 or until funds run out, whichever comes first.

The Madison County Community Development Energy Assistance Office can help residents with the application process. Persons wishing to apply should contact the nearest Outreach Site in their area for an appointment.

The sites in Madison County are (all 618 numbers):
Madison County Energy (Edwardsville) — 296-6485

Granite City Housing Facility — 876-4232
Madison County Urban League (Alton) — 463-1906
Madison County Urban League (Madison) — 877-8860 Chouteau Township — 931-0360
Collinsville Township — 344-1290
Edwardsville Township — 656-0292
Ft. Russell Township — 377-5660
Jarvis Township Senior Center (Seniors Only) — 667-2560
Highland Area Christian Ministry — 654-9295 Olive Township — 637-2630
Senior Services Plus — 465-3298
Venice Township — 452-1121

Persons applying for home energy assistance must provide proof of income from all household members for the 30-day period beginning with the application date, proof of most recent energy bill(s) and proof of social security number(s) for all household members.

Applications for IHEAP are processed on a first-come, first-served basis and until funding is exhausted.

All households that are interested in applying are encouraged to call and make an appointment as early as possible. IHEAP benefit payments made to eligible households are approved on a one-time basis.

Income guidelines for this program are as follows:

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