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Ameren Illinois Reaches Out to Customers With Payment Plans, Assistance Programs
March 31 Deadline for 10% Down Payment Offer

PEORIA, Ill., March 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Ameren Illinois (AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, AmerenIP) is reaching out to residential customers with past due account balances to help them take advantage of payment plans as well as Illinois utility rate relief programs.

"The economic downturn has placed an additional burden on our customers, causing some to fall behind on their bills," said Stan Ogden, vice president for Customer Service and Public Relations for the Ameren Illinois Utilities. "We are reaching out to our customers with past due balances by making it as easy as possible to establish a payment plan.

"Now through March 31, a customer may establish a payment plan by paying just 10 percent of the past due balance. The remaining portion of the past due balance will be paid in monthly installments along with the current bill amount for each month," Ogden said.

Beginning April 1, customers will be required to pay 25 percent of the past due balance before establishing a payment plan.

To establish a payment plan, customers may call their Ameren Illinois utility: AmerenCIPS – 1-888-789-2477; AmerenCILCO – 1-888-672-5252, and AmerenIP – 1-800-755-5000.

Eligible Ameren Illinois customers also may benefit from two Illinois rate relief programs. The Bill Payment Assistance Program provides energy assistance grants of up to $300 to low-income electric customers with household incomes of 150 percent to 200 percent of the energy assistance federal poverty level. The Hardship Assistance for Residential Customers provides grants of up to $600 based on the hardship experienced by customers with household incomes of up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

The grants are provided through the local community action agencies that administer the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Customers may call 1-877-411-9276 to obtain the name and address of their local community action agency.

Some customers also may be eligible for assistance through LIHEAP, which is administered by the local community action agencies. LIHEAP provides energy services payment assistance to eligible low-income households, elderly persons and people with disabilities. Grants are based on the number of people in a household, total income and the type of energy used.

The Dollar More and Warm Neighbors programs may help eligible Ameren Illinois residential customers with utility bills. Customers should call their Ameren Illinois utility for information. Ameren Illinois customers may make contributions to these programs to help their neighbors.

Ameren Illinois' Act On Energy® initiative is helping customers spend less on energy by using less energy. Act On Energy offers customers free energy saving advice, as well as financial rebates and incentives. For more information about the Act On Energy programs for residential customers, visit ActOnEnergy.com, call 1-866-838-6918 or send an e-mail to: ActOnEnergyResidential@ameren.com.

Residential customers who have past due balances and have failed to establish a payment plan or are not honoring a payment plan agreement will be subject to service disconnection beginning in April.

A service disconnection will only occur after Ameren Illinois has attempted to contact the customer and a final service disconnection notice has been issued.

"Our goal is to avoid service disconnections," Ogden said. "We will only disconnect service when every reasonable effort to establish a payment plan has failed or the customer has not paid the agreed upon payments."

A customer with a certified medical condition or special need who receives a disconnection notice should immediately contact their Ameren Illinois utility.

The Ameren Illinois Utilities (AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, AmerenIP) have been providing safe, reliable energy delivery service for more than a century. The Ameren Illinois Utilities deliver energy to 1.2 million electric and 813,000 natural gas customers in more than 1,200 communities within a 43,700-square-mile service territory throughout Downstate Illinois.

SOURCE Ameren Illinois Utilities