Columbia Gas customers get more financial assistance with home heating

Sue Daugherty
Mar 23, 2010

You may have seen the press release in March 4th’s Sandusky Register titled, “FYI: Get help with your heating bills.”

 Prior to this new development, only households at or below the 150% - 175% of the Federal Poverty Guideline were eligible for financial assistance with their heating bill. ($15,600/year up to $18,200/year for a one-person household;  $21,000/year to $24,500/year for a two-person household)

Since PUCO approved Columbia Gas’s request for a rate increase, funding to subsidize heating costs for people with incomes above the 175% of poverty, was put into place. Now people with household incomes above 175% of poverty ($18,200/year for one person; $24,500/year for two people) up to 200% of poverty ($20,800/year for a household of one; $28,000/year for a household of two) are now eligible to apply for a heating subsidy.

I’m not sure how I feel about his. I know for a fact that home heating costs are killing people of modest means. By the same token, I also know that this revenue is coming from people like you and I who are now paying a flat monthly fee in the amount of around $25/month on our Columbia Gas bills. It’s called a customer service charge. (Check your invoice and see for yourself what you are paying.)

This customer service charge use to be based on how much natural gas you consumed each month. So, in the winter you paid a higher customer service charge, than you did in the summer. Effective January 2009 we will pay approximately $25/month 12 months per year. This new customer service charge means even in the summer when we used to pay very little -- or nothing -- for a customer service charge, we now have owe approximately $25/month.

If your household income is below 200% of poverty ($20,800 for a household size of one; $28,000 for a household size of two) you are eligible to apply for heating assistance.  

Erie and Huron county residents should call the Erie-Huron CAC at 419-626-4320.

Comments

Gulliver

Erie Huron Community Action Commission received $70,000 from Columbia Gas to be used for Columbia Gas customers that are above 175% of the Fed. Poverty and at or below 200% A DISCONNET NOTICE IS NOT REQUIRED the max benefit is $250.00 it is additional Fuel Fund Monies. ($18,200/year for one person; $24,500/year for two people;$20,800/year for a household of one; $28,000/year for a household of two)

So if you know of someone who could use a 250.00 discount on their heating bill -- and falls in this income bracket -- tell them to cal the Erie-Huron CAC at 419-626-4320. Adults of any age are eligible.

Gulliver

What you should know.... You should verify the following before completing your enrollment:

* Whether your agreement will be automatically renewed upon
completion;

* Whether automatic renewal would subject you to a higher
rate;

* That you understand whether you are accepting a fixed or
variable rate and what those two terms mean;

* Whether any additional fees, such as for enrollment,
transfer or cancellation, may be charged; and

* That the supplier is a certified participant in Ohio’s
choice programs.

After you have received your first bill, check the numbers against your signed copy of the contract to make sure the charges assessed reflect your understanding of what you agreed to. You need to be aware that in most cases, if you decide to switch to a different supplier offering a lower rate, it generally takes 45 to 60 days for the new rate to go into effect.

Be sure to read and save any materials you receive from the supplier as they may include notices of changes to the original offer, rate or length of the service agreement.