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UTILITY BILLING & PAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS LIFE Regional Conference – May 11, 2011 Moderator: Kyro Ojulo – Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.

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Presentation on theme: "UTILITY BILLING & PAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS LIFE Regional Conference – May 11, 2011 Moderator: Kyro Ojulo – Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp."— Presentation transcript:

1 UTILITY BILLING & PAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS LIFE Regional Conference – May 11, 2011 Moderator: Kyro Ojulo – Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.

2 1)Common Utility Billing & Payment Assistance Programs 2)Utility Specific Billing & Payment Assistance Programs 3)Frequently Asked Questions & Responses for Payment Troubled Customers UTILITY BILLING & PAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

3 COMMON UTILITY BILLING & PAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS Presenter: Anita Carfora – Central Hudson Gas & Electric

4 Programs Central Hudson NYSEG RG&EO & R Direct Pay XXX Budget Billing XXX Gift Certificates XXX Payment Agreements XXX Hospitalization Program XXX Life Support Equipment XXX Third Party Notification XXX Common Utility Billing & Payment Assistance Programs

5 Programs:Central Hudson NYSEG RG & EO & R Bill Due Date Ext (Winter Protection) Extra Security Plan X Bill Extender XX Special Identification Program XXX Agency Referral Types: Dept of Social Services XXX EmPower NY XXX Weatherization XXX Community Agencies XXX Common Utility Billing & Payment Assistance Programs con’t

6 Anita Carfora Brenda Patton Holly Thompson Utility Specific Billing & Payment Assistance Programs

7  The Good Neighbor Fund  Powerful Opportunity Program (POP)  Low-Income Bill Credit

8  The Good Neighbor Fund is a financial assistance fund for Central Hudson customers who are experiencing a hardship and an energy emergency.  Funds are provided by Central Hudson customers as well as shareholder dollars.  The Fund is administered by the Hudson Valley Salvation Army Offices located in Beacon, Newburgh, Kingston, and Poughkeepsie.  The Good Neighbor grant is designed to be a last resort option for our customers.

9  The grant for eligible applicants is equal to one monthly average bill up to a maximum amount based on service type.  Each eligible applicant is given two opportunities to receive this grant in their life time.  The applicant may receive the maximum amount of two grants in the current year to diffuse a crisis situation.

10  The applicant must have exhausted all other sources of energy assistance.  Received a final termination notice or be locked for non- payment.  The applicant may not owe more than $750.00 on the final termination notice OR need no more than $750 to reinstate a defaulted payment agreement or to restore service.

11 The applicant must be experiencing a financial hardship as defined below:  Medical  Property Damage or Loss  Disability  Senior  Loss of Employment  Unpaid Time Away From Work  Victimized Criminal Activity  Family Crisis (Death, Divorce, etc.)

12 Utility payment assistance program for eligible Central Hudson customers that allows:  A discount from $50 to $225 off the regular Budget Bill each month.  Past due balance paid off up to any amount over a 24-month period.  Receive an Incentive Reward Credit.  Automatic referral to EmPower New York SM.

13 Customer Eligibility Requirements:  Have a past due balance of at least $100.  Residential heating customer who use (and pay for) natural gas or electric.  Enroll in monthly Budget Billing.  Be HEAP eligible and receive a benefit yearly.  Can pay a discounted budget bill each month in full and on time. Powerful Opportunity Program (POP)

14 Customers that receive HEAP on their Central Hudson account during the 2010/2011 HEAP heating season will be issued:  A credit of $7 per month for 12 months ($94 max).  Must have an active account to receive benefit. $7 Monthly Credit for HEAP Recipients

15 Payment Assistance Programs  Monthly Bill Credit(s) for HEAP recipients  The Neighbor Fund  Orange County Fuel Fund

16 Monthly Bill Credit Any customer receiving a grant under the Home Energy Assistance Program (“HEAP”) receives a monthly bill credit for 12 consecutive months - $9.94 bill credit per month for gas heat - $5 bill credit per month for electric - $10 bill credit per month for electric space heat

17 Neighbor Fund Grant Program Administered by the Salvation Army Assists families in crisis situations (job loss, illness, divorce, accident, etc) No age limit or income guidelines Must have an O&R account, exhausted all gov’t resources, provide documentation of crisis or emergency Grants are awarded Oct – June; money does not have to be repaid Fuel Blind (oil, electricity, natural gas, propane, wood or coal) Since 1983, nearly $4M in grants to more than 15,000 households Contact your local Salvation Army office or visit for the Neighbor Fund community outreach center

18 Orange County Fuel Fund For those who don’t qualify for HEAP Covers a portion of the cost for fuel oil, natural gas, propane, wood, pellets, or electricity Must meet income guidelines One-time award up to $585, paid directly to the provider For an application, call the Orange County United Way at (845) 457-4774 ext 3112 or visit their website

19 Bill Management  Budget Billing  Alternate Suppliers Power Switch eBids  Reduce Energy Usage & Waste

20 Consider Alternate Suppliers  PowerSwitch O&R’s introductory program to energy choice provides customers with a one-time offer of 7% off supply costs for two billing periods Go to or call  eBids O&R’s internet website that let’s you shop anonymously for an alternate supplier You can compare price offerings from several suppliers and pick the one that best meets your needs Go to

21 Managing Energy Use and Energy Waste   On-Line (Self) Energy Audit Links to customer billing history and local weather data for accuracy Provides energy efficiency recommendations and cost/benefit analysis on energy efficient measures  Energy saving devices Programmable thermostats CFL’s Smart strips or simply unplug devices when not in use  Appliance Recycling and Rebate Program Refrigerator or freezer recycling rebates ($50) ENERGY STAR rated room a/c and dehumidifier rebates (up to $50)

22  Energy Assistance Program (EAP)  Project SHARE

23 NYSEG Energy Assistance Program (EAP) Basic Benefit  Automatic enrollment when customers either receive annual HEAP grant on NYSEG account or provide current HEAP award letter.  Bill credits vary from $6.60/month for gas non-heat accounts to $25.17/month for combined electric heat and gas non-heat accounts.  NYSERDA referrals

24 NYSEG EAP Arrears Forgiveness – Eligibility:  Enrolled in EAP Basic  Have made three bill payments within the last 12 months.  Arrears no less than $240 and no more than $750.  Receive, complete and return application.  Once enrolled cannot miss three consecutive months of payment.  36 month program.

25 NYSEG EAP Arrears Forgiveness con’t Once enrolled:  Arrears placed on hold  NYSEG applies 1/24 th of the original withheld amount credit to the account each time the customer pays the monthly bill in full and on time.

26 NYSEG EAP Arrears Forgiveness con’t Example:  An EAP basic customer has electric heat, gas non-heat and $750 in arrears.  The customer enrolls in the EAP arrears forgiveness component.  The customer pays on time and in full  EAP credit = $25.17/month  Arrears credit = $31.25month ($750/24month = $31.25)  Annual Benefit = $677

27 NYSEG EAP Reconnection Fee Waiver  Eligible for one reconnection fee waiver a year.  Credit is equal to the amount of the reconnection fee assessed at the time of turn on.

28 NYSEG Project SHARE NYSEG and the American Red Cross established the fuel fund in 1982 to provide financial assistance to NYSEG customers with energy-related emergencies  The NY Southern Tier Chapter of the American Red Cross administers the fund.  The nearest local American Red Cross chapter or authorized intake agency manages the casework, processes the application and sends it to the Southern Tier Chapter for approval.  Contributions come from NYSEG, its customers, retirees and employees.

29 NYSEG Project SHARE con’t  Provides up to $300 for electricity, natural gas, oil, propane or wood.  Can be used for repair or replacement of equipment such as furnaces or water heaters.  Customers may be eligible for a grant once every 18 months.

30 NYSEG Project SHARE Eligibility The NYSEG customer’s household must have an energy emergency and must have exhausted all other assistance including HEAP, Emergency HEAP and emergency assistance and:  Be 60 years of age or older, or  Have a long-time chronic disability or a medical condition, or  Be an active duty service member, or deployed reservist, regardless of income, or  Have an income that does not exceed 5% of the HEAP income guidelines.

31 Anita Carfora Brenda Patton Holly Thompson

32 Question 1: Why is my bill so high, and how can I reduce it in the future?

33 Question 2: I have a piece of medical equipment in my home. Does that mean my services can never be terminated? Utility Frequently Asked Questions?

34 Question 3: I received a bill for $700, but I only have $300 should I make a partial payment?

35 Question 4: Why is the utility customer service representative asking me to provide personal information pertaining to my household size, income and expenses?


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