Dominion East Ohio Reminds Customers Of Emergency Home Energy Assistance, Reconnect & Payment Programs For Winter Heating Help

Nov 3, 2003

November 3, 2003

Applications are now being accepted for the Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program (E-HEAP), which provides a one-time emergency payment of up to $175 either to avoid a shutoff or restore gas service for income-eligible customers.

Applications for E-HEAP will be accepted through March 31, 2004. Call for an application by contacting the state HEAP office's toll-free number: 1-800-282-0880, or download an application at the Ohio Department of Development Web site. Go to http://www.odod.state.oh.us, then click the "Communities/Agencies" button near the top of the screen, then click "Utility Payment Assistance."

In addition to E-HEAP, a special winter heating reconnection procedure is available to help any Dominion residential customer avoid a shutoff or to turn gas service back on by paying the amount they owe Dominion, not to exceed $175. For more information, call Dominion at 1-800-362-7557. Customers can use the reconnection procedure or E-HEAP only once during a heating season.

Dominion East Ohio reminds all of its customers of the availability of various energy assistance programs and payment options to help with upcoming winter heating bills, or past-due balances.

Budget Billing
With the Budget Payment Plan, a customer pays a fixed budget amount each month. Dominion East Ohio will review a customer's budget amount in February, June and October, and adjust it, if necessary, so that the customer won't have a high bill or large credit at the end of the budget year. Customers must be current with their bill to be eligible for the budget billing option. To sign up, customers should call Dominion East Ohio at 1-800-362-7557.

Payment Plans
For a customer with a past-due balance of $100 or more, Dominion East Ohio offers the Current-Plus Plan to help better manage gas bills. First, the customer decides how many months—up to six—it will take to pay off their balance. Then the company divides the current account balance by the number of months the customer selected, and adds that amount to the customer's current monthly bill. The Current-Plus Plan is available to all residential customers. To learn more about payment options or the Current-Plus Plan, call Dominion East Ohio at 1-800-362-7557.

Government Assistance Programs
Customers can apply for Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP), Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), Emergency HEAP and Weatherization Assistance on a combined application. The form is available at post offices, libraries, by calling the State of Ohio HEAP office at 1-800-282-0880, or by downloading its Web site at http://www.odod.state.oh.us.

The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides a credit that is applied to a customer's heating bill. To qualify, a customer's yearly gross household income can be up to $13,470 for one person; $18,180 for two people; $22,890 for three; $27,600 for four; $32,310 for five and $37,020 for six. Add $4,710 for each additional person. The filing deadline is March 31, 2004. For details, call the state HEAP office toll-free at, 1-800-282-0880. Customers with Telecommunciations Devices for the Deaf (TDDs) call 1-800-686-1557.

The Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) helps a customer maintain gas service by paying 10 percent of his/her total monthly household income. To qualify, a customer must meet HEAP/PIPP income guidelines and apply for HEAP. Household income means all money received during the last 12 months for all adults in the household. Gross household income is all income received before deductions. Income includes: wages, Social Security, state unemployment, veterans benefits, strike benefits, workers' compensation, cash public assistance, relief payments, alimony and interest. It does not include money earned by children under 18.

To apply for PIPP/HEAP, customers should take proof of their total household income for the past three or 12 months to the local HEAP office. Proof of income includes copies of: payroll stubs, Human Services case card and Ohio Bureau of Employment Services card, check or determination notice. Customers can also use a statement from an employer. A customer should take copies of his/her natural gas and electric bills. For the nearest HEAP office, customers should call toll-free, 1-800-282-0880.

If a customer is no longer income-eligible for PIPP, or they voluntarily leave the program, the PIPP Repayment Plan can help them gradually pay off their total arrearage amount. Current or former PIPP customers should contact Dominion East Ohio at 1-800-362-7557, for specific information on the rules and guidelines of the PIPP Repayment Plan.

Weatherization Assistance may also be available from the Ohio Department of Development. This federally funded program provides grants for weatherization repairs. For details, call 1-800-282-0880.

Participation in Energy Choice will not affect a customer's eligibility for energy assistance. However, customers must be current with payments to participate in the Energy Choice program.

Other Assistance Programs
EnergyShare, a Dominion East Ohio sponsored fuel assistance program of last resort, is designed to help needy individuals and families pay any type of winter heating bill—natural gas, wood, oil, kerosene or electricity. Customers should contact their Local Salvation Army office to apply. Applications will be taken starting January 2, 2004. A grant of up to $500 may be awarded to eligible customers.

Weatherization assistance may also be available through the Dominion East Ohio-funded Housewarming program, which provides up to $1,500 worth of weatherization materials to eligible customers. Households that participate in PIPP or HEAP, may automatically qualify for Housewarming. In Akron, call 330-773-6838; Ashtabula 440-998-4996; Canton 330-455-6385; Cleveland 216-574-7100; Marietta 740-373-7671; New Philadelphia 740-922-6692; Warren 330-394-8029; and Youngstown 330-747-7921.

The Medical Certification Program delays a shutoff, or restores service, when it would be life threatening, or especially dangerous, to the health of a permanent member of a customer's household. Medical certification forms are available by calling Dominion East Ohio. The program allows customers to make payment arrangements--it does not reduce the amount they owe.

Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers of energy, with a diversified and integrated energy portfolio that includes 24,000 megawatts of generation and 6.1 trillion cubic feet equivalent of proved natural gas reserves. Dominion also serves 5 million retail energy customers in nine states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at www.dom.com.

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CONTACTS:    
Media: Jeff Zidonis, (216) 736-6228,  
Neil Durbin, (216) 736-6239  
  Toll-free in Ohio, 1-800-556-4400  
  Peggy Ehora, (419) 226-4866 (in Lima)

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