Utilities remind customers about assistance programs

Connecticut Light and Power and Yankee Gas are reminding customers having difficulty paying their electric or natural gas bills to sign up for assistance programs.

"The last thing we want to do is disconnect service to a customer," said Sharon Eberman, director of customer experience operations for CL&P and Yankee Gas. "All it takes to sign up for a program is a phone call. We have a variety of programs and services available to assist customers and now is the time to contact us."

Limited-income customers with past-due balances can work out monthly payment arrangements so their service is provided year-round. Customers must heat with electricity to qualify for the CL&P Matching Payment Program or heat with natural gas to qualify for the Yankee Gas Matching Payment Program. A customer's total household income will be considered.

CL&P and Yankee Gas customers who maintain eligibility under the Matching Payment Program will see an additional reduction in their past-due amount for every dollar paid. Customers who successfully complete the program will also receive a match on their energy assistance reward.

The Winter Protection program protects qualified, income-eligible customers from electric service shut-offs or natural gas shut-offs for nonpayment from Nov. 1 to May 1. Customers must sign up annually for this program; there is no automatic renewal. A customer's total household income will be considered. Additional criteria that may be considered can include: whether applicants receive aid to the blind, elderly and disabled; temporary family assistance; food stamps; Medicaid; general assistance; Supplemental Security Income; or whether there has been a serious or life-threatening illness in the household. Customers still receive their bills and should try to pay what they can each month to avoid a larger balance due when the protection period ends.

For information, CL&P customers should call (800) 286-2828. Yankee Gas customers should call (800) 438-2278.

CL&P and Yankee Gas also offer budget billing. The program helps customers manage expenses by equalizing monthly bills based on annual energy usage history. It helps avoid seasonal peaks associated with heating and cooling months. Accounts are reviewed monthly and budgeted amounts are adjusted if necessary.

To sign up for CL&P Budget Billing, call (800) 286-2000 or visit: www.cl-p.com. To sign up for Yankee Gas Budget Billing, call (800) 989-0900 or visit: www.yankeegas.com.

The NUSTART Program helps limited-income CL&P customers maintain year-round electric service. Customers can reduce and eliminate past-due balances by paying their monthly budget amount on time each month.

For information on NUSTART, call (800) 286-2828.

Limited-income customers may also qualify for state administered programs, including the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program or the Contingency Heating Assistance Program. There are also programs such as Operation Fuel that assist customers who are not eligible for state or federal assistance.


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