"This extra funding will expand available financial assistance to thousands of additional customers," said Ameren Illinois President Scott Cisel. "We recognize that this summer's higher electricity bills will create a hardship for some, and at Ameren we believe it is important to reach out to assist our customers and our communities."
A portion the grant will go to Warm Neighbors, matching the $150,000 that program has designated for cooling relief assistance for AmerenIP customers. An additional $200,000 will go to Dollar More to assist customers of AmerenCIPS and AmerenCILCO. Both Warm Neighbors and Dollar More are funded entirely by voluntary contributions from Ameren and its customers and employees.
"The ICC is very concerned about the safety and welfare of Illinois energy consumers, especially during this summer's extended heat wave," said Illinois Commerce Commission Chairman Ed Hurley. "I am pleased that Ameren is making additional contributions to these worthwhile assistance programs." Hurley said he appreciated Ameren's making these contributions from shareholder profits - not from monies the company will seek to recover through future rates.
"I would like to commend Ameren for their continued commitment to provide energy assistance to Illinoisans in need," said Barry Maram, Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). "As part of Gov. Blagojevich's initiative to respond to the excessive heat, HFS is distributing $10 million in grants through the Low Income Home -- more -- Add One Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. It is critical that as a community we do everything we can to assist vulnerable families during dangerous weather conditions.
Warm Neighbors, available to customers of AmerenIP, normally provides only heating assistance but in view of this summer's critical needs has allocated funds for cooling assistance as well. Dollar More, available to customers of AmerenCIPS and AmerenCILCO, provides aid to low-income, elderly and disabled consumers to help them keep fans, air conditioners and refrigerators running in hot summer months.
"We appreciate our customers' generosity in contributing to these programs to help those who are struggling to pay their energy bills," said Cisel. "With the needs even greater this summer due to the recent sustained heat wave, I encourage all who can to give a little extra to assist others who need help." Customers can support Warm Neighbors or Dollar More by simply checking the appropriate box on their Ameren bill. AmerenCIPS and AmerenCILCO customers can also enroll for Dollar More contributions on Ameren's Web site, www.ameren.com. Contribution forms for Warm Neighbors are available at www.warmneighbors.org. All donations to Warm Neighbors and Dollar More are tax deductible, and all donations go directly to families needing assistance.
Ameren funds a corresponding Dollar More program for its Missouri customers. In the aggregate, Dollar More has provided more than $25 million to thousands of families in need since its founding in 1982.
AmerenIP customers can call the Warm Neighbors information line, 1-866-621-1139 (toll free), to learn if they are eligible for assistance from Warm Neighbors and to find the name and contact information for the Warm Neighbors agency in their area. Further information is also available at Warm Neighbors' Web site, www.warmneighbors.org.
AmerenCIPS and AmerenCILCO customers can inquire about help from Dollar More by calling the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, agency in their area. For names of LIHEAP's local agencies and additional information, go to www.liheapillinois.com or call the LIHEAP toll-free information line, 1-800- 252-8643.
AmerenIP, based in Decatur, Ill.; AmerenCILCO, based in Peoria, Ill; and AmerenCIPS, based in Springfield, Ill.; are subsidiaries of Ameren Corp. (NYSE:AEE). The three Illinois companies, together with St. Louis-based AmerenUE, serve 2.3 million electric customers and 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile-area of Missouri and Illinois.
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