Utility Reconnect Program in Ohio
The winter reconnect program is in effect every winter in Ohio. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) wants all families who may need help to take advantage of the program.
All regulated electric and natural gas customers can use the winter reconnect order. It is an assistance program that is available to residential customers who have had their utility service disconnected. Or if the customer has received a disconnection notice they can also take advantage of the program. It allows people an opportunity to pay a designated amount on their heating or utility bill in order to have their home heating service restored or maintained. The program has been in effect for over 20 years.
There are some fees and costs. Residential customers in Ohio must pay $175 on their bill, or they need to pay the entire amount owed, whichever is less. In addition, they need to pay a reconnection fee of no more than $36 to either maintain or restore their service with their regulated electric or natural gas company. The winter reconnect order may be used only once per each winter heating season.
All people are eligible for help as there is no income eligibility requirement to use the reconnection program.
Some of the other details of the program include those customers that are requesting new electric or natural gas service, that have no previous balance with the utility company may establish service by paying $175 towards their bill. They can do this rather than paying the required security deposit. Also, those customers who are utilizing the winter reconnection order to establish new service may have the remaining balance of the required security deposit added to their next month’s bill.
Both the federal government and the state of Ohio offer several other home energy and heating bill assistance programs to those who qualify. The PUCO strongly suggests that any customer who needs help explore all options that are available to them, including the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) and the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) in addition to the winter reconnect order.