Help Paying Utilities




Ameren Warm Neighbors Cool Friends program

A non-profit charity organization, the Energy Assistance Foundation, has created the Warm Neighbors Cool Friends for Ameren customers who live in Illinois. The program is funded by customer donations, matching contributions from Ameren, and other charity funding and cash grants. Over the last 10 years more than $11 million dollars has been provided to customers to help them pay utility, electric, and gas bills. Funds have also been provided to help weatherize homes and apartments.

The program tries to help customers whose income is slightly above LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program) guidelines. So if a customer does not qualify for LIHEAP, the Warm Neighbors Cool Friends may still be able to help them.

The Warm Neighbors Cool Friends service aims to help low- to moderate-income individuals, families, the disabled and senior citizens who are struggling to pay their utility bills and who are struggling to make ends meet due to temporary financial setbacks. Funds can also help people who are faced with a short term crisis or hardship. Most of the people who do receive cash and help will not be able to qualify for government energy assistance as their income is too high.




Basically this resource is intended to help those customers who are not able to help themselves. The Warm Neighbors Cool Friends bill payment program is fairly unique in that it requires a matching payment from the customer towards their electric bill.

There is also an energy conservation component known as weatherization. This component primarily includes weatherization for attic and walls, and these improvements are free for the customer. However at the end of the day what is done does provide on what the home needs. Additional weatherization improvements could include sealing the house and ductwork. Note that  a customer contribution is also required for the home weatherization program.

Customers who apply for help must meet income guidelines. Ameren and the Warm Neighbors Cool Friends fund try to support people whose income does not qualify for them for LIHEAP. If your income is more than 300% of poverty guidelines then you will not be able to qualify for weatherization or the bill payment program, so there are income threshholds too. Typically the type of people who qualify for utility bill help from this Ameren program are seniors, disabled, or people who are faced with a short term financial hardship.

To learn more or to apply for help, call the Energy Assistance Foundation or Ameren in Illinois at 1.888.690.5700.



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