PUCO issues Winter Reconnect Order

Staff report

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has issued its Winter Reconnect Order for the upcoming winter heating season.

The Winter Reconnect Order helps Ohioans served by PUCO-regulated utilities reconnect or maintain electric and natural gas service during the winter heating season between Oct. 5, 2020, and April 15, 2021.

Any residential customer of a PUCO-regulated electric or natural gas company may take advantage of the provisions contained in the order. Last winter heating season, more than 196,000 Ohioans used the Winter Reconnect Order.

Under the order, customers must pay the utility no more than $175 plus any applicable reconnection charge which cannot exceed $36. If the utility’s reconnect charge is greater than $36, the balance above $36 may be charged to customer on the customer’s next monthly bill.

The Winter Reconnect Order also applies to customers seeking to establish new electric or natural gas service provided they are served by PUCO-regulated utilities. Rather than paying the full security deposit that may be required for new service, customers can pay up to $175, and the balance above $175 may be charged to the customer on the customer’s next monthly bill.

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

To take advantage of the Winter Reconnect Order, call your electric or natural gas company between Oct. 5, 2020, and April 15, 2021, to find out how to apply it to your bill. Utility representatives will explain the order and set up a payment plan to address any remaining balance on your account after the $175 has been applied.

A list of PUCO-regulated utilities is available on the PUCO website.

More information about energy assistance programs and ways to save on home heating bills this winter is available on the PUCO’s website at www.PUCO.ohio.gov.

Customers who have questions about PUCO’s Winter Reconnect Order may 800- 686-7826 or visit www.PUCO.Ohio.gov.

Staff report