PUCO offers winter heating help


Staff report



The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has approved the Winter Reconnect Order, which helps consumers reconnect or maintain electric and natural gas service during the winter heating season, between Oct. 15, 2018, and April 15, 2019.

Any customer of a PUCO-regulated electric or natural gas utility may take advantage of the order. Last winter heating season, more than 217,000 Ohio utility customers utilized the PUCO’s Winter Reconnect Order.

The program is an opportunity for Ohioans to avoid disconnection or to reconnect their gas and/or electric service once during the winter heating season. Customers who utilize the Winter Reconnect Order are required to pay the utility no more than $175 plus any applicable reconnection charge not to exceed $36. If the company’s reconnection charge is greater than $36, the balance may be billed to the customer the following month.

The Winter Reconnect Order also applies to customers seeking to establish new electric and natural gas service. Rather than paying the full security deposit that may be required for new service, customers can pay up to $175 and be billed any remaining balance of the security deposit the following month.

There is no income eligibility requirement to utilize the Winter Reconnect Order; however, customers who are at or below 175 percent of the federal income guidelines may apply for assistance through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) to pay the $175 amount.

Several other state and federal programs are also available to Ohioans who qualify, including the Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP Plus) and the Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP). More information about these programs and additional ways to save on home heating bills this winter is available on Ohio’s Winter Heating Resource website at www.winterheat.ohio.gov.

Those who would like to utilize the program must call their electric or natural gas utility between Oct.15, 2018, and April 15, 2019, for more information. Utility representatives will explain the order, and if applicable, set you up on a payment plan for any default amount. PIPP Plus customers who would like to use the Winter Reconnect Order must pay the balance of any default they may have within one billing cycle in order to re-enroll in PIPP Plus.

For additional information, call 800-686-7826 or visit www.PUCO.ohio.gov.

Staff report