Help Paying Utilities




Donate to the Warm Neighbors Cool Friends program

The Warm Neighbors Cool Friends is a donation program that operates in Illinois. It was created by the Energy Assistance Foundation, which is a non-profit that is governed by its own board. The program and the non-profit provide year round help for paying utility bills, including cooling and heating expenses.

Donations are key to the program. Customers can decide to make a one time or recurring monthly donation to foundation. Every dollar someone contributes, no matter how little, will go towards helping the less fortunate pay their utility bills. All of the money contributed is tax deductible and will go to the low income and not towards administrative costs. People can contribute at any time by completing a contribution form with the amount of the donation. Some companies or businesses may provide matching grants as well on your donations.

Warm Neighbors Cool Friends not only provides help for energy bills (including Ameren Illinois) but there is an energy conservation component as well. This can help make harsh winters and hot summers more bearable for families in need as their home will be more energy efficient.

While the amount of funding will vary based on donations, in general people can get a few hundred dollars per year. Individuals who apply must have recent payments on their account and need to contribute as well, as Warm Neighbors Cool Friends was never intended to pay your entire bills. It will just provide a matching grant on your account. The Energy Assistance Foundation tries to target those lower income customers with household incomes just above the guidelines for LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program) assistance. The weatherization component can pay for basic energy-efficiency measures, such as insulation, air sealing, weather-stripping and caulking. The Foundation that oversees the funding also works with a statewide network of community organizations and social service agencies in order to determine applicant eligibility at the local level.






If you do contribute you should know that the foundation has committed to keeping administrative expenses to a minimum. There is only one paid employee of it! Your contribution will not go to those costs as an annual contribution from the Ameren Charitable Trust is already paying for all of those  administrative expenses and the employee. Every penny and dollar you give goes directly to help those low income Illinois residents in need.

The program is really intended to help senior citizens and low- to moderate-income families who are struggling to make ends meet due to temporary financial crisis. Most of the families who receive help do not qualify for federal government or state of Illinois energy assistance.

To get more information on contributing or applying for help, call the Energy Assistance Foundation at 1.888.690.5700.



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