The Helping Hand program, which was created by ComEd, is an effort that is being made that will in effect pay half of the outstanding utility bill balances for those customers who are facing a recent or pending utility service service suspension due to a financial hardship or some other crisis, such as a medical emergency.
Millions of dollars are being made available by the utility company to people who need help. Residential customers who pay 50 percent of their outstanding utility bill balance can receive a credit from ComEd for the remaining 50 percent which will in effect waive the balance. To be eligible for the Helping Hand program, customers must have received a utility service disconnection notice within the last 120 days and have experienced a medical or financial hardship.
The Helping Hand program was created to be a one-time opportunity for those customers that are most affected by the economic downturn and the crisis hitting our nation. This will help those those individuals and families who are facing special hardships keep the power on and regain the ability to successfully manage their electricity bills over the long term. It will help them get back on their feet.
The Helping Hand program reflects ComEd's ongoing commitment to assist customers who face either short- or long-term financial challenges and hardships. The amount of help they provide is extensive. For example, last year, ComEd provided approximately $16 million in assistance through its CARE programs to more than 75,000 customers across the Chicago and Illinois area. These programs included Fresh Start Electric Space Heat Credits as well as the Residential Special Hardship Grants. This year, ComEd will provide more than $10 million in new funds to help people pay utility bills.
Customers of the company can sign up for ComEd Helping Hand by calling 888-806-CARE (2273). In addition, there are other opportunities to get help. People will always need to identify a hardship and provide proof of a disconnection notice if they have one, proof of identification for the ComEd customer of record, a current ComEd bill (within 30 days) and payment (check, credit card or debit card). Those will be some of the criteria.