NYSEG AND RG&E EXPAND ENERGY ASSISTANCE TO LOW INCOME CUSTOMERS
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30% More Customers Now Qualify for the Simplified Program
Rochester, NY, December 2, 2010 – NYSEG and RG&E today announced that approximately 30% more customers will benefit from the companies’ new Energy Assistance Program (EAP) for low income customers than under the companies’ previous low income programs. The expanded program, part of the companies’ new rate plans recently approved by the Public Service Commission (PSC), will now provide benefits to approximately 70,000 NYSEG and 50,000 RG&E customers.
“We want to help our low income customers gain control of their energy bills,” said Terri Van Brooker, director - customer service at NYSEG and RG&E. “We worked with the PSC to simplify the program and make it available to more of our customers.”
The new EAP offers two levels of assistance.
EAP Basic Benefit: Monthly bill credits are automatically available to any customer who has a Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP*) grant applied directly to an active NYSEG or RG&E account. If a NYSEG or RG&E customer has a HEAP grant applied to an account with another heating fuel vendor, the customer must provide NYSEG or RG&E with a copy of the HEAP award letter. EAP monthly bill credits continue for as long as customer’s utility or other fuel vendor receives a HEAP grant every 12 months. The monthly bill credits vary depending on whether customers receive electricity, natural gas or both services from NYSEG or RG&E and what fuel the customer uses for heat.
EAP Limited Benefit: NYSEG and RG&E will send applications to a limited number of participants who are eligible to have past-due amounts reduced. Enrollment will be limited to approximately 7,000 customers at NYSEG and 4,500 customers at RG&E. To be eligible, customers must:
• Be enrolled in the EAP Basic Benefit.
• Have made three payments on their account in the last 12 months (not including agency payments such as HEAP).
• Have arrears no less than $240 but no greater than $750.
• Receive, complete and return an application for the arrears forgiveness benefit.
• Provide a copy of their HEAP award letter if HEAP is applied to another fuel vendor.
• Enroll in Budget Billing.
Once enrolled in the EAP Limited Benefit:
• The past-due account balance (arrears) is placed on hold.
• Each time a participant pays their regular bill in full and on time, they will receive a bill credit of 1/24th of the total amount on hold.
• If a participant misses three consecutive payments they will be permanently removed from the EAP Limited Benefit.
• Enrollment can last up to 36 months.
For Energy Assistance Program information, customers should visit:
http://www.nyseg.com/YourAccount/HEAPandEAP.html (www.nyseg.com, click on “Your Account” and then on “Energy Assistance: HEAP and EAP Can Help”)
http://www.rge.com/YourAccount/HEAPandEAP.html (www.rge.com, click on “Your Account” and then on “Energy Assistance: HEAP and EAP Can Help”)
* HEAP is a federal grant program that helps income-eligible households pay for energy costs, repairs and weatherization. Income eligible customers may receive one regular HEAP benefit per season. In addition to regular HEAP, households may also be eligible for emergency HEAP benefits. The number of emergency benefits varies per season depending on the availability of funds. The 2010-2011 HEAP season opened November 1, 2010. Funding is limited, contact your county's Department of Social Services to apply or visit otda.ny.gov/main/programs/heap.
About NYSEG and RG&E: NYSEG and RG&E are subsidiaries of Iberdrola USA. NYSEG serves 873,000 electricity customers and 259,000 natural gas customers across more than 40% of upstate New York. RG&E serves 362,000 electricity customers and 299,000 natural gas customers in a nine-county region centered on the City of Rochester. Providing outstanding customer service and meeting our customers’ energy requirements in an environmentally-responsible manner, NYSEG and RG&E are valuable assets to the communities we serve. For more information, visit www.nyseg.com and www.rge.com.
About Iberdrola USA: Iberdrola USA, a subsidiary of global energy leader Iberdrola, S.A., is an energy services and delivery company serving about 3 million customers throughout upstate New York and New England. For more information about Iberdrola USA, visit www.iberdrolausa.com.