LIHEAP still accepting applications for those needing assistance
QUAD CITIES, IA/Ill. (KWQC) - If you qualify, there is still time to apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in Illinois and Iowa.
If you live in Rock Island, Mercer or Henry counties, you can contact Project NOW in Rock Island to set up an appointment. The number is 309-793-6391.
MidAmerican Energy also has payment assistance and LIHEAP information for all of Illinois and Iowa on its website, https://www.midamericanenergy.com/payment-assistance.
“We really realized, hey this is going to go up, we saw the writing on the wall,” said Ron Lund.
Ron Lund, Community Services Director at Project Now in Rock Island, says they were anticipating a high number of applicants for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program early in the season, and that’s exactly what they are seeing.
This, after MidAmerican Energy announced in the fall that customers could expect a 46% to 96% increase in their energy bill this winter. Since Sept. 1, more than 5,000 families have applied for financial assistance through the LIHEAP program in Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties in Illinois.
“So far we’ve put out $2.3 million since 9/1. So, we’re averaging about $551 a household right now, for benefits,” said Lund.
Last year, 8,100 families received assistance and that number is expected to increase to 9,000 through May.
“If you meet income guidelines, you have an active utility bill, and you’re below the threshold number of individuals for your income, you’re going to qualify and get the benefit. There’s no requirement to have a crisis. You don’t have to be affected by COVID or anything like that,” said Lund.
There is still time to sign up for assistance and now is a good time to get the application process started.
“Once it hits the negative, or below 32, the utility companies are not allowed to disconnect in the state of Illinois. So we will see a lull. We will see it pick back up in March/April when it starts getting warmer and when those utility companies can do disconnects. The appointments will become harder to get later on in the year,” said Lund.
As December energy bills start trickling in, don’t be surprised if it’s more than what you’re used to paying.
“Utility bills are not going to get any cheaper the colder it gets,” said Lund.
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