Heating help: Payment options as home gas prices rise

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– As U.S. officials are predicting a spike in heating costs this winter, Dominion Energy Ohio is reminding customers of its payment plans and assistance programs.

The average home in the U.S. that uses natural gas for heat could pay $746 this winter, which is up 30 percent from a year ago, the Associated Press reported. Homeowners in the Midwest could see an even steeper increase.

‘“The economy is seeing a resurgence from last year’s downturn and with that recovery is increased demand for energy, both domestically and globally. Demand for natural gas has increased significantly during the hottest summer on record to support electric power generation. The federal government’s Energy Information Administration is projecting an increase in drilling activity for 2022, which could ease prices,” said Jim Eck, vice president and general manager, Dominion Energy Ohio, in a news release on Friday.

Customers who may not be able to afford their heating bills are urged to contact Dominion Energy Ohio immediately about payment plans and energy assistance programs. The company also offers help weatherizing homes for income-eligible customers.

Under the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s winter reconnection order, all residential customers may avoid shutoff once during the heating season, which runs Oct. 18, 2021 to April 5, 2022. They can do this by paying the lesser of the entire past-due balance, the past-due payments or $175.

Dominion payment plans:

  • Budget Billing allows customers to pay a fixed budget amount each month, based on annual gas usage. Dominion Energy Ohio periodically reviews the budget amount and adjusts it, if necessary, so that the customer will not have a high balance or large credit at the end of the budget year. Customers should call the company for more information.
  • Budget Plus: The company offers additional flexibility for customers who enroll in our Budget Plus payment plan. Under Budget Plus, we are now allowing customers to pay their calculated budget payment, plus an amount against their past-due balance over a period of seven to 12 months.
  •  Customers with a past-due balance can pay their current monthly bill, plus an installment of the total account balance at the time they enroll in the plan that spreads the balance over multiple months.
  • The One-Ninth Plan allows customers to pay a special budget amount, plus one of nine equal payments of their past-due amount, each month.
  • Under the One-Third Winter Heating Plan, customers pay one-third of their total account balance each month for bills that include gas used from Nov. 1, 2021, through April 15, 2022.
  • Short-Term Extension grants up to five additional days to pay before the next bill date.

Help is also available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. More information on benefit eligibility can be found right here or you can call this toll-free number:  1-866-674-6327

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