For Release: 06/19/2020
Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas extend relief to utility customers amid COVID-19 pandemic
Company providing additional support to customers who may have trouble paying their bill, including increased financial assistance, suspension of disconnections and late fees, and reconnection of service
CHICAGO – Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, in coordination with multiple consumer groups, announced today several additional benefits to assist customers with hardships they may be facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement came following a comprehensive agreement approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) that extends statewide benefits to utility customers in Illinois.
As part of the joint agreement, which included coordination with the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, Citizen’s Utility Board and the City of Chicago, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas will extend the current suspension of disconnections and late fees put in place in response to the onset of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The suspension will last until 30 days after Illinois enters Phase 4 of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, or Aug. 1, 2020, whichever comes first. As the suspension is lifted, Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas and other utilities will establish important customer support programs to continue to help Illinoisans struggling with the financial impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
“We are grateful to Governor Pritzker, the ICC, the joint consumer advocates and our utility colleagues across the state for working together the last three months to make this agreement possible,” said Charles Matthews, president and CEO – Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas. “We’ve been intentional in our efforts to ease the burden of this health emergency for our customers, and we will continue to work with every customer to provide assistance beyond the crisis.”
Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas announced the following additional customer benefits as part of the agreement, to support their customers in the coming months:
- Extended suspension of disconnections. Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas will not disconnect customers for nonpayment until 30 days after the state moves to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan or Aug. 1, 2020, whichever comes first.
- Reconnection of customers disconnected for nonpayment in 2019 or 2020 before the COVID-19 public health emergency. Customers should contact Peoples Gas or North Shore Gas for reconnection before Aug. 1, or before Illinois enters Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, whichever comes first. An additional 60-day grace period applies. No reconnection fee will be charged for the above time period. For Income-qualified customers or those indicating hardship, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas will not assess a reconnection charge for an additional four months.
- A new payment assistance program. Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas will make over $13 million available to increase support for residential customers.
- Extended deferred payment arrangements. Residential customers are eligible to receive an 18-month payment plan. For those customers receiving Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) support or expressing hardship are eligible for an 18 to 24-month payment plan.
Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas will also continue to provide assistance to customers through existing programs:
- Financial assistance: Financial assistance programs such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and the Peoples Gas Share the Warmth Program and a Payment Assistance Program are available to qualified customers. To enroll, Peoples Gas customers should contact CEDA directly at cedaorg.net or 800-571-2332. North Shore Gas customers should contact Community Action Partnership of Lake County (CAPOLC) at 847-249-4330.
- Flexible Payment Plans: Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas have payment plans available, including deferred payment arrangements available in 18 and 24-month durations depending on the situation. Peoples Gas customers should call 866-556-6001 and North Shore Gas customers should call 866-556-6004 to learn more and to enroll in these payment plans.
Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas customers will soon receive additional information on the end of the disconnection moratorium and the additional assistance programs and arrangements. For more information on the agreement or to find out if you are eligible for assistance, customers should visit https://accel.peoplesgasdelivery.com/, https://accel.northshoregasdelivery.com/ or call 866-556-6001 for Peoples Gas or 866-556-6004 for North Shore Gas.
Peoples Gas, a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group (NYSE: WEC), is a regulated natural gas delivery company that serves more than 867,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the city of Chicago. You can find more information about natural gas safety, energy efficiency and other energy-related topics at peoplesgasdelivery.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook @peoplegaschi.
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