Four breakfast forums are scheduled throughout Connecticut during October:
· Tuesday, October 11, Courtyard by Marriott, Waterbury, 8:30 a.m.
· Wednesday, October 12, Marriott at Corporate Ridge, Rocky Hill, 8:30 a.m.
· Wednesday, October 19, Pequot Museum, Ledyard, 8:30 a.m.
· Thursday, October 20, Doubletree Hotel, Norwalk, 8:30 a.m.
“It is very important that our residential customers know about the Winter Protection Plans and how and where to apply for energy assistance,” said Tim Clark, manager of Credit and Collection for both companies. “We want to be sure that everyone who is eligible for assistance gets the help he or she needs. Individuals or families classified as hardship are protected from shutoff under the plans, even if they cannot pay their entire bill.”
Last year more than 330,000 CL&P customers and more than 16,500 Yankee Gas customers signed up to receive Winter Protection Plan services.
Under the Winter Protection program, CL&P will not terminate service to qualified customers who have problems paying their electricity bills between November 1, 2005, and April 15, 2006. Qualifying Yankee Gas customers are protected from having their gas heating service turned off if they fail to pay their bill during the same timeframe.
For both electric and natural gas heating customers, the Winter Protection Plan applies to those whose income falls below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, who are seriously ill, or whose only source of support is Social Security or veteran’s benefits. Certain households who depend on unemployment compensation benefits may also qualify.
Both CL&P and Yankee Gas work with social agencies and their clients to encourage customers to make special arrangements for partial payments during the winter months. This reduces the amount of the bill when the Winter Protection Program ends on April 15. “Because customers are responsible for paying off their account balance at the end of the winter, it’s in their best interest to pay as much as possible during the winter months,” said Clark.
CL&P and Yankee Gas will also provide information about their Matching Payment Programs at the forums.
CL&P’s Matching Payment Program (MPP) provides year-round electric service and possible forgiveness of past-due balances for low-income customers who heat their homes with electricity. The company matches every dollar paid on the customer’s behalf up to a zero balance. During last year’s heating season, approximately 2,000 customers enrolled in the MPP and more than $30,000 was forgiven for customers.
Yankee Gas currently has 13,000 customers enrolled in its MPP. The program allows low-income customers who have past-due balances to work out a monthly payment arrangement so their gas heating service will be provided all year round. Customers must apply and qualify for energy assistance funds, and make and keep monthly payments. (For those who are eligible, Yankee Gas will deduct an amount equal to the money paid by the customer and the amount received from energy assistance, up to a zero balance. If customers qualify, there is a possibility of forgiveness of back balances owed.)
For more information on how to sign up for Yankee’s Matching Payment Program and Winter Protection Plan, call 1-800-438-2278, or visit www.yankeegas.com.
Customers who think they may qualify for the CL&P’s Winter Protection Plan should call 1- 800 - 286-2000 (860/947-2000 in the Hartford and Meriden calling areas) or visit www.cl-p.com.