DAYTON — In preparation for the upcoming heating season, Vectren Energy Delivery (Vectren) is extending its call center support hours for the month of October. October is traditionally a very active month for natural gas customers who are preparing for colder temperatures by reconnecting gas service or inquiring about energy assistance programs. Currently, customers can call 1-800-227-1376 and speak to a customer service specialist Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In addition to the regular service hours, customer service specialists will be available Saturdays in October from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Customers also have the option of utilizing live web chat for customer service assistance.
“Flexibility during this busy season is very important as we often experience higher-than-normal call volumes during regular business hours, particularly on Mondays,” said Colleen Ryan, president of Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio. “As we prepare to enter the heating season, we encourage customers to get a head start on reconnecting their service to avoid and hopefully reduce wait times.”
Community action agencies will begin taking applications for all energy assistance programs on Nov. 1.
Income-qualified households are also encouraged to contact their local community action agency or the Ohio Development Services Agency at 1-800-282-0880 to inquire about a number of assistance programs, including the following:
• Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP): Households must fall within 175 percent of federal poverty guidelines, which would be about $42,525 for a family of four, to qualify. Applications began July 1 and continue to June 30, 2017.
• Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program (E-HEAP): E-HEAP provides assistance once per heating season to eligible households that are disconnected or are threatened with disconnection. Households must fall within 175 percent of federal poverty guidelines to qualify.
• Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP Plus): PIPP Plus calls for a qualified household to pay 6 percent of its monthly income for gas service throughout the year. To be eligible for the PIPP Plus program, a customer must receive his or her primary or secondary heat source from a company regulated by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), must have a total household income which is at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty, which would be about $36,450 for a family of four, and must apply for all energy assistance programs for which he or she is eligible.
• Project TEEM: Vectren’s Project TEEM (Teaching Energy Efficiency Measures) helps qualifying Ohio customers implement energy efficiency improvements to their homes at no cost. Households must fall within 300 percent of federal poverty guidelines, which would be about $72,900 for a family of four, to apply. Call 1-800-617-2673 to learn more or visit www.cap-dayton.org.
Customers needing assistance are also encouraged to utilize Ohio’s Winter Reconnect Order, which begins Oct. 17, and runs through April 14, 2017. Customers who are disconnected or are in danger of being disconnected have the opportunity to pay a designated amount to have their service restored or maintained. Residential customers are required to pay no more than $175 to maintain service under the reconnection order. If the customer’s service has already been disconnected, the customer must pay the $175 and a reconnection fee of no more than $36 to restore service. While there is no income eligibility requirement to use the Winter Reconnect Order, it may only be used once during the heating season.
For more information or to access Vectren’s self-service options, including billing and payment options, rebates on energy efficient appliances, energy conservation tips and account information, visit www.vectren.com.