Energy assistance for low-income households available Monday

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Autumn officially begins September 22, but low-income seniors and households with disabled individuals can begin applying for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Monday, Sept. 1.

Autumn officially begins September 22, but low-income seniors and households with disabled individuals can begin applying for a grant with the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Monday, Sept. 1. Households disconnected for non-payment can begin applying Oct. 1, and all other households can begin applying Nov. 1. The application period for the LIHEAP runs until April 30, 2009 or until funds are exhausted. LIHEAP funds come in the form of a onetime credit on customers’ bills to assist payment of winter heating costs. The start date couldn’t have come at a better time for some seniors who said they struggle each year to keep their gas on, especially during the winter months. “I can’t wait for Barack Obama to get elected president. I need help now,” said Mildred Taylor, 69, who is on a fixed income. “After I buy my prescriptions and groceries, there’s not much left for me to work with.” And although the program primarily is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ComEd donated $1 million in July to support the LIHEAP cooling program, said Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd executive vice president for Regulatory, Customer Operations and External Affairs. “ComEd customers who are eligible for LIHEAP also are encouraged to apply for ComEd CARE program assistance as a way to further manage their electricity costs,” Pramaggiore said. “We hope to provide a total of $18 million in assistance this year to customers most in need.” LIHEAP funds are administered by the State of Illinois and several community agencies. Cook County residents can call 1-800-571-2332 for more information or 1-877-411-9276 if you live outside Cook County.

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