Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Energy Foundation, Utility Hope Neighbors Will Warm to Helping Needy

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Energy Foundation, Utility Hope Neighbors Will Warm to Helping Needy

Article excerpt

The Energy Assistance Foundation and Illinois Power Co. hope to get enough money this winter to help 4,000 poor families in central and Southern Illinois pay their heating bills.

The money is being raised under the Warm Neighbors program, which was established by the utility under the supervision of the Energy Assistance Foundation to help needy people who live in Illinois Power's service area.

The utility serves much of central and Southern Illinois, including most of the Metro East area.

"The amount of state and federal dollars for low-income energy assistance keeps shrinking," Philip H. Beach, executive director of the Energy Assistance Foundation, said in a recent statement.

"This means that more families will be depending on programs like Warm Neighbors," Beach said.

Illinois Power's customers are getting Warm Neighbors contribution forms with their November and January power bills. The forms will be on a flap on the remittance envelopes.

Customers can make one-time or monthly tax-deductible donations to Warm Neighbors when they send in their utility bill payments. Donations also may be sent separately to the Energy Assistance Foundation, P.O. Box 1758, Decatur, Ill. 62525.

The Warm Neighbors program helps poor families in immediate danger of losing their primary source of heat because of inability to pay their bills.

Applicants for assistance under the program must live in Illinois Power's service area, but they don't have to be Illinois Power customers. The program helps qualified families who heat with electricity, natural gas, propane, wood, oil or coal.

To qualify for the help, people must have applied for federal and state aid and have utility service registered in their names. Those applying for help should have a current heating bill, proof of income, a valid driver's license or other valid photo identification card and proof of financial need.

Various agencies in Illinois Power's service area have information about where and how to apply for Warm Neighbors help. …

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