affordable reconnections for those without utility service
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[January 05, 2009]
CHICAGO -- In an effort to help Illinoisans heat their homes
during the national recession, Gov. Rod Blagojevich today launched
the Good Samaritan Initiative for the 2009 winter season. Through
this initiative negotiated by the Illinois Department of Healthcare
and Family Services, utility companies including Nicor Gas, Peoples
Gas and North Shore Gas, and Ameren Illinois Utilities provide more
affordable reconnection terms to Low Income Home Energy Assistance
Program recipients who have had their utility services disconnected.
"Even with the assistance provided through the Low Income Home
Energy Assistance Program, many low-income families in Illinois
remain unable to maintain their home energy service throughout the
year," Blagojevich said. "The Good Samaritan Initiative helps people
get through these tough economic times so they can heat their homes
during the coldest months of the year. I want to thank the
participating utility companies for providing more favorable
reconnection terms and helping our most vulnerable families stay
safe this winter."
For the sixth straight year, the Good Samaritan Initiative allows
utility customers with account balances that are too high to be
covered by LIHEAP alone, but less than $3,000, to get their service
restored by paying $250 or 20 percent of their remaining balance,
whichever is less. Customers must also set up payment plans with
their utilities provider for the remainder of their balance.
"As we move into the coldest parts of winter, more and more
people will require assistance to help pay for their heating and
energy bills," said Barry S. Maram, director of the Department of
Healthcare and Family Services. "We're very pleased to be able to
work with the utility companies to assist families that really need
help to stay warm."
LIHEAP is a state- and federally funded energy assistance program
run by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Heating
bill payments are made on behalf of households with incomes up to
150 percent of the federal poverty level. A single-person household
can qualify with a monthly income of up to $1,300, a two-person
household up to $1,750, and a family of four can earn up to $2,650.
Benefits are paid directly to the household's appropriate utility.
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The Good Samaritan Initiative is part of the Keep Warm Illinois
campaign, which brings state agencies together to coordinate efforts
in preparing communities across the state for high home heating
costs. The Keep Warm Illinois site,
offers no-cost and low-cost energy saving tips, a Web-based tool to
conduct a home energy audit, links to energy assistance programs and
other resources. In addition, the Keep Warm Illinois toll-free line,
1-877-411-WARM (9276), is another resource for Illinois residents to
learn how to save energy and get energy assistance.
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]