Ameren Illinois has taken action to help ease the financial burden for customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills during COVID-19. Under their Economic Hardship Recovery Program, they have been providing bill payment assistance and offering repayment periods of up to 24 months. ln fact, since launching their new Fresh Start program in early July, they have allocated more than $4.6 million to nearly 10,000 customers. They have also joined with their state agency partners to help connect customers with available external funding, including the State of lliinois Low lncome Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
In March, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, they suspended service disconnections for nonpayment. They want to help customers avoid building up unmanageable energy bills, and over the last several months have been urging them to contact Ameren at 800.755.5000 to explore their options. Recently, a joint agreement between the Illinois Commerce Comission, Illinois utilities, the Attorney General’s office, and consumer groups set a mutually agreed upon date for Illinois utilities to resume normal operations. In alignment with that agreement, the assessment of late fees resumed in July and service disconnections for non-payment will resume in September.
Residential customers in our community may have begun receiving disconnection notices. These notices for nonpayment are issued throughout the month based on the customer’s bill cycle. The notice gives the customer eight (8) business days to make arrangements to prevent disconnection. Since disoonnection is always the last resort, Ameren Illinois will communicate multiple times with the customer to provide them with information on available funding an payment agreement options.
If you have received or are concerned about receiving a disconnection notice, please do not hesitate to take action. Financial resources are available, but customer must reach out, apply for the funding, and inquire about entering into a deferred payment agreement, if needed. More information on direct assistance from Ameren Illinois and information on state funding is available at AmerenIllinois.com/Recovery. or by calling 800.755.5000.