ST. LOUIS, June 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Recognizing the ongoing financial hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Ameren Missouri will provide $3.5 million in additional energy assistance funds to customers across the state. The funding is on top of the $1 million of support announced in March and offers a fresh start for families in need.
The COVID-19 Clean Slate program, which starts today, will include $3 million to help thousands of Ameren Missouri's most vulnerable customers pay off their past-due utility bills. Multiple community partners and agencies will participate in administering the program, which is designed to help income-eligible customers clear the remaining balance on their account after paying 25% of the current balance. For example, customers in a four-person household making up to $45,850 a year, or $3,821 per month, are eligible to apply. Details regarding an additional $500,000 for energy assistance will be announced later this year.
In addition, Ameren Missouri is partnering with Cooldownstlouis.org and Cooldownmissouri.org to help at-risk families and seniors stay cool and safe. Today Ameren Missouri donated 1,000 energy efficient air conditioners, 1,000 four-packs of LED light bulbs and $500,000 to Cooldownstlouis.org and Cooldownmissouri.org to support the most vulnerable customers in St. Louis and eastern Missouri. The air conditioners are ENERGY STAR®-certified units, and on average, cost less than a dollar a day to operate.
"There are a lot of Missouri families struggling right now and having to make some tough financial decisions in light of this pandemic—we get that and we want to help," said Marty Lyons, chairman and president of Ameren Missouri. "Our COVID-19 Clean Slate program is similar to one we had following the economic crisis in 2009, which helped thousands of Missourians pay off their energy bills. With so many customers in need today, we felt it was important to bring back the program, which is why we worked closely with the Missouri Office of the Public Council to make this happen."
Lyons added: "The summer heat in our region can be extremely dangerous for people without access to air conditioning, particularly for seniors and those with medical conditions. Our partnership with Cooldownstlouis.org, Cooldownmissouri.org and community action agencies from across our service territory helps ensure our customers can stay safe and healthy as temperatures begin to rise."
This year's air conditioner donation marks the 15th anniversary of Ameren Missouri's partnership with Cooldownstlouis.org and Cooldownmissouri.org, resulting in thousands of window air conditioning units delivered to qualified seniors and physically disabled customers across the region.
"We know the economic impact of the coronavirus is far-reaching and worrisome for so many families," said Tara Oglesby, vice president of customer experience for Ameren Missouri. "In some cases, this has led to high customer bill balances, which is why we created the $3 million COVID-19 Clean Slate program to stabilize the situation and help these customers in need get a fresh start by helping with their utility bill balances."
Funding through the COVID-19 Clean Slate program will be available starting today (June 3) and is expected to benefit approximately 9,000 households. Ameren Missouri has extended its suspension of service disconnections and late fees until at least July 1. Customers are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to see if they are eligible and before their outstanding balance becomes overwhelming.
Information about the COVID-19 Clean Slate program can be found at AmerenMissouri.com/CleanSlate, or by calling Ameren Missouri at 800-552-7583.
Also starting this week (June 1), assistance dollars are available to eligible customers through the Missouri Family Support Division's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Ameren Missouri encourages customers to apply for funding assistance through LIHEAP. LIHEAP's Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) helps pay up to $300 toward fuel bills when a household's energy is shut off or at risk of disconnection.
Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than 100 years, and the company's electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. Ameren Missouri's mission is to power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 132,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. The company's service area covers 64 counties and more than 500 communities, including the greater St. Louis area. For more information, visit Ameren.com/Missouri or follow us on Twitter at @AmerenMissouri or Facebook.com/AmerenMissouri.
About Cooldownstlouis.org and Cooldownmissouri.org
Cooldownstlouis.org is a bi-state non-profit dedicated to providing education and resources to help the most vulnerable citizens, especially seniors, low-income families, and the physically disabled. The organization works with more than 34 agencies to make sure utility bills are paid and the community's most vulnerable citizens have access to energy-efficient air conditioners they need to stay safe.
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SOURCE Ameren Missouri