Utility companies offer assistance programs

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BERLIN — Connecticut Light and Power and Yankee Gas reminded customers who may be having difficulty paying their electric or natural gas bills to call for information on programs that can assist them.

The Winter Protection Program, which protects qualified, income-eligible customers from electric service shut-offs or natural gas shut-offs for nonpayment, ends May 1.

“The last thing we want to do is disconnect service to a customer,” said Sharon Eberman, director of customer experience operations for CL&P and Yankee Gas, in a prepared statement. “All it takes to sign up for a program is a phone call. We have a variety of programs and services available to assist customers and now is the time to contact us.”

CL&P and Yankee Gas customers can take advantage of a Matching Payment Program.

This program allows limited-income customers with past-due balances to work out monthly payment arrangements so their service is provided year-round. Customers must heat with electricity to qualify for the CL&P Matching Payment Program or heat with natural gas to qualify for the Yankee Gas Matching Payment Program.

In addition, a customer’s total household income will be considered. They must apply for and be granted energy assistance funds and must make and keep a monthly payment arrangement. CL&P and Yankee Gas customers who maintain eligibility under the Matching Payment Program will see an additional reduction in their past-due amount for every dollar paid. Customers who successfully complete the program will also receive a match on their energy assistance reward, up to a zero balance.

For more information on the Matching Payment Program, CL&P customers can call (800) 286-2828. Yankee Gas customers can call (800) 438-2278.

CL&P and Yankee Gas also offer budget billing, a program that equalizes monthly bills based on annual energy usage history.

To sign up for CL&P’s Budget Billing program, call (800) 286-2000 or visitwww.cl-p.com. To sign up for the Yankee Gas Budget Billing program, call (800) 989-0900 or visit www.yankeegas.com.

The NUSTART Program helps limited-income CL&P customers maintain year-round electric service. Customers can reduce and eliminate past-due balances if they pay their monthly budget amount on time, each month.

For more information on the NUSTART program, call (800) 286-2828.

Limited-income customers may also qualify for state administered programs, including the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) or the Contingency Heating Assistance Program (CHAP).  There are also programs such as Operation Fuel that assist customers who are not eligible for state or federal assistance. Call 211 to learn more about these programs.