Ameren Illinois recently announced that it allocated $8 million in bill payment assistance to help qualified residential customers reduce or eliminate a past-due account balance. Under the “Fresh Start” program, up to $700 is available for customers struggling to pay energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Fresh Start program is designed to help those customers impacted most by the COVID-19 pandemic. Income-qualified Ameren Illinois customers with past-due account balances may be eligible for funding. For example: A family of four with a monthly income of up to $4,367 may be eligible to receive up to $400 for electric bills and up to $300 for natural gas bills.

Customers in this income range must first receive assistance from the Illinois Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) before applying for Fresh Start funding. To apply for LIHEAP, visit www.pcceo.org/complete-liheap-application or obtain an application packet at PCCEO (711 W. McBean St., Suite B) or call 309-671-3900 to get started.

If a past-due balance remains after LIHEAP assistance is received, apply for Fresh Start by calling Ameren Illinois at 1-800-755-5000, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Income Guidelines are on a sliding scale based on family size. Visit AmerenIllinois.com/Recovery for detailed income eligibility guidelines. Customers with an outstanding balance can work with Ameren Illinois to establish an extended payment schedule. Repayment terms may be extended up to 24 months.

Information on funding and other assistance being provided under Ameren Illinois’ COVID-19 Economic Hardship Recovery program can be accessed at AmerenIllinois.com/Recovery