Conservation Tips, Payment and Assistance Plans Can Help Dominion Energy Customers Deal with Winter Heating Bills
CLEVELAND, Feb. 22, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Energy Ohio reminds customers that simple, no-cost or low-cost, conservation tips can help reduce natural gas usage – and monthly bills – during this winter heating season. Company payment plans and government energy assistance plans also can help customers cope with their seasonal heating bills.
Furnaces and boilers account for 65 percent of home natural gas use. These simple tips can help customers maximize comfort and minimize monthly bills:
- Save Money by Degrees: Customers can save from 10 to 15 percent on annual heating costs by setting the thermostat at 68 degrees during the day and down to 58 degrees at night, or when the resident is at work or away for an extended period.
- Clean or Replace Furnace Filters: Check furnace air filters once a month during the heating season. If they become clogged, clean or replace with new filters.
- Caulk Around: Use inexpensive caulking around the fireplace mantle, inside windows and storm windows, electrical receptacle boxes, exhaust fan openings, pipes leading to bathroom fixtures, mortar cracks in chimneys, cracks in basement walls. Be sure to caulk around areas where the foundation meets the first floor plate and basement windows.
- Seal Off Drafts around Windows: Tape thin sheets of plastic to inside window frames with masking tape.
- Draft Stoppers: Block off drafts at the bottom of doors with a rolled up rug or bath towel. You also can make a long, narrow beanbag to fit against the bottom of the door.
- Switch Off Drafts: To seal off drafts, apply self-adhesive foam strips to the back of wall plates for electrical outlets and switches.
- Here's a Card Trick: If a playing card fits in the crevice of an outside door, you need more weather stripping.
While using these tips can help customers hold down bills, Dominion Energy Ohio also offers a variety of company payment plans and government energy assistance programs to help them maintain service during the winter heating season. Customers who know they will not be able to maintain regular payments should contact Dominion East Ohio immediately at 1-800-362-7557 and not wait until receiving a shutoff notice. For more information about payment plans and government energy assistance programs, visit www.dominionenergy.com/home-and-small-business/pay-my-bill/payment-assistance.
Dominion Energy Ohio offers the following payment options to residential and small commercial customers (using less than 500 thousand cubic feet (MCF) a year):
- Budget Billing allows customers to pay a fixed budget amount each month, based on annual gas usage. Dominion Energy Ohio periodically reviews the budget amount and adjusts it, if necessary, so that the customer will not have a high balance or large credit at the end of the budget year. Customers should call the company for more information.
- Current-Plus Plan: Customers with a past-due balance pay their current monthly bill, plus one-sixth of the total account balance at the time they enroll in the plan. (more)
- The One-Ninth Plan allows customers to pay one-ninth of their total account balance each month plus a calculated budget amount.
- Under the One-Third Winter Heating Plan, customers pay one-third of their total account balance each month for bills that include gas used from November 1, 2017, through April 13, 2018.
- Short–Term Extension grants up to five additional days to pay before the next bill date.
Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Winter Reconnection Order:
All residential customers, regardless of income, may avoid a shutoff or restore gas service once during the heating season between now and April 13, 2018, by paying the lesser of: the entire past-due balance on your gas bill; the past-due payments if you are on a special payment plan; or $175. If service has been disconnected, a reconnect fee of $33, plus applicable taxes, will be billed to the account. Customers will be enrolled automatically in the One-Ninth Payment Plan when using the Winter Reconnection Order to help pay off any additional past-due balance. Customers may select a different plan by calling Dominion Energy Ohio.
Government Assistance Programs:
The following programs are available for income-eligible customers. Customers can apply for all programs with one application at www.energyhelp.ohio.gov, which provides income guidelines as well. Applications also are available at post offices and libraries or by calling the Ohio Development Services Agency at 1-800-282-0880. Hearing-impaired customers with Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf can call 711.
- Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP Plus): To qualify for this special payment plan, developed by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, a customer's yearly gross household income can be up to 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines. Under PIPP Plus, participating customers may maintain their natural gas service by paying 6 percent of their total gross monthly household income, or $10, whichever is greater.
The PIPP Plus maximum yearly household gross income levels for the 2017-2018 heating season are: $18,090 for one person; $24,360 for two people; $30,630 for three; $36,900 for four; $43,170 for five; $49,440 for six; $55,710 for seven; and $61,980 for eight. Add $6,270 for each additional person.
- Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides a one-time heating bill credit during the winter heating season. HEAP is available to customers whose yearly gross household income is up to 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. To qualify, a customer's yearly gross household income can be up to $21,105 for one person; $28,420 for two; $35,735 for three; $43,050 for four; $50,365 for five; $57,680 for six; $64,995 for seven; and $72,310 for eight. Add $7,315 for each additional person.
- The Winter Crisis Program (WCP), previously known as Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program (E-HEAP), provides a one-time grant to help avoid a shutoff or to restore service once through March 31, 2018. HEAP and WCP are available to customers whose yearly gross income is up to 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Local community action agencies can assist with emergency payments to help avoid disconnection. You can find available resources in your community -- dial 2-1-1.
- Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP) is a federally-funded program that provides grants for home weatherization projects to customers whose incomes are no more than 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines. To qualify, a customer's yearly gross household income can be up to $24,120 for one person; $32,480 for two; $40,840 for three; $49,200 for four; $57,560 for five; $65,920 for six; $74,280 for seven; and $82,640 for eight. Add $8,360 for each additional person.
Dominion Energy Ohio Assistance/Conservation Programs:
- Dominion EnergyShare is a last-resort program after all other state and federal assistance is exhausted. The Salvation Army administers the Dominion-funded program. It is available to Dominion Energy Ohio customers with a shut-off notice or who have been disconnected. Applications can be made on or after December 1. Customers should contact their local Salvation Army Corps for more information or to schedule an appointment.
- Dominion Energy Ohio's Housewarming Program provides weatherization assistance to help income-eligible customers reduce their energy usage. For information, call CHN Housing Partners (formerly Cleveland Housing Network (CHN)), at 1-888-377-3774 or go to https://chnhousingpartners.org/housing-and-community-services/home-energy-efficiency-services/.
Dominion Energy (NYSE: D) is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 25,700 megawatts of generation, 15,000 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline, and 6,600 miles of electric transmission lines. Dominion Energy operates one of the nation's largest natural gas storage systems with 1 trillion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves more than 6 million utility and retail energy customers. For more information about Dominion Energy, visit the company's website at www.DominionEnergy.com.
SOURCE Dominion Energy Ohio