We’ve found many ways to get electric bill assistance in Illinois! From state programs to local charities, there are a ton of different options that can help you get caught up and even reduce your future bills.
Anyone Illinois resident who is low income or experiencing a financial hardship may be able to get help. We’ve found many different programs with varying requirements and some are quite generous.
In this article, we’re going to discuss a variety of programs that provide electric bill assistance in Illinois. We’ll also break down a few ways that you can get extra help from your utility provider!
Electric Bill Assistance in Illinois
There are many government programs that can help you pay your past due bills, stay current on your utilities, and even reduce your future bills.
The Percentage of Income Payment Plan is a great way that you can get electric bill assistance in Illinois. PIPP is actually part of the Illinois LIHEAP program, so you will have to choose between receiving PIPP or regular LIHEAP benefits.
Through the PIPP program, your monthly payment will be based on your household income and budget billing amount. The state will pay a portion of your monthly bill to make sure that your payments stay low. In addition, any amount that you owed before enrollment will be reduced every month that you make your PIPP payments on time.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program can help low income Illinois residents reduce their utilities. You can receive a grant from this program every year to help reduce the costs of your utilities.
This program opens in September every year and continues through May or until funding is exhausted. The funds are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, so you need to apply right away to make sure that you get your grant before funds run out.
In order to apply for LIHEAP’s electric bill assistance in Illinois, you will need to contact your local Community Action Agency to apply. We’ve listed the community action agencies of Illinios below, with the counties they serve in parenthesis after the agency name.
- BCMW Community Services (Bond County, Clinton, Marion, Washington Counties)
- CEFS Economic Opportunity Corporation (Christian, Clay, Effingham, Fayette, Montgomery, Moultrie, Shelby Counties)
- Champaign County Regional Planning Commission (Champaign County)
- Chicago Department of Family & Support Services (Cook County, Chicago Only)
- Community & Economic Development Association of Cook County Inc. (Cook County)
- Community Action Partnership of Central Illinois (DeWitt, Logan, Mason, Menard, Piatt Counties )
- Community Contacts, Inc. (DeKalb, Kane Counties)
- Crosswalk Community Action Agency (Franklin, Jefferson, Williamson Counties)
- Decatur Macon County Opportunities Corp (Macon County)
- DuPage County Department of Community Services (DuPage County)
- East Central Illinois Community Action Agency (Ford, Iroquois, Vermilion Counties)
- Embarras River Basin Agency Inc. (Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Jasper, Lawrence, Richland Counties)
- Fulton County Health Department (Fulton County)
- Illinois Valley Economic Development Corporation (Carroll, Greene, Jersey, Macoupin Counties)
- Kankakee County Community Services, Inc. (Kankakee County)
- Kendall-Grundy Community Action (Grundy, Kendall Counties)
- Knox County Health Department (Knox County)
- Northwestern Illinois Community Action Agency (Stephenson County)
- Madison County Community Development (Madison County)
- MCS Community Services (Cass, Montgomery, Scott Counties)
- McHenry County Housing Authority (McHenry County)
- Mid Central Community Action Inc (Livingston County, McLean Counties)
- Northwest Illinois Community Action Agency (Jo Daviess County)
- Peoria Citizens Community for Economic Opportunity Inc. (Peoria County)
- Project NOW Inc. (Henry, Mercer, Rock Island Counties)
- Rockford Human Services Department (Boone County, Winnebago Counties)
- Sangamon County Department of Community Resources (Sangamon County)
- Shawnee Development Council Inc. (Alexander, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, Union Counties)
- St. Clair County Community Action Agency (St. Clair County)
- Tazwood Community Services Inc. (Tazewell, Woodford Counties)
- Tri-County Opportunities Council (Bureau, LaSalle, Lee, Marshall, Ogle, Putnam, Stark, Whiteside Counties)
- Two Rivers Regional Council of Public Officials (Adams, Brown, Pike, Schuyler Counties)
- Wabash Area Development Inc. (Edwards, Gallatin, Hamilton, Saline, Wabash, Wayne, White Counties)
- Western Egyptian Economic Opportunity Council (Jackson, Monroe, Perry, Randolph Counties)
- Western Illinois Regional Council (Hancock, Henderson, McDonough, Warren Counties)
- Will County Center for Community Concerns (Will County)
The same organizations that administer LIHEAP usually administer the weatherization program as well. This program can add energy-saving improvements to your home, which can reduce the cost of your future bills.
Potential weatherization improvements include (but are not limited to):
- Duct sealing
- Furnace upgrades
- LED Lighting
- Sealing gaps and cracks in walls, windows, doors and other openings
- Showerhead upgrades
- Water heater upgrades
- Weatherstripping around doors, windows and other openings to prevent leaks and drafts
- Window upgrades
This can drastically reduce your utility bills, especially if you live in an older home.
For help with weatherization services, contact your Community Action Agency as listed above for more information.
Illinois has a General Assistance fund that is only available if you cannot get any other form of public benefits. It’s also known as a program of “last resort,” because it’s the last thing you should apply for when you’re out of options.
There are local churches and charities that can provide electric bill assistance in Illinois as well. Each of these organizations set their own eligibility criteria.
Central Illinois Memorial Kidney Fund
This fund can provide emergency assistance with emergency living expenses, medications, food certificates and bus passes for dialysis patients. Utilities are counted as an emergency living expenses.
CIMKF organization serves the following communities: Bloomington, Canton, Galesburg, Kewanee, Macomb, Normal, Ottawa, Peoria, Pekin, Pontiac and Spring Valley.
Operation Brotherhood provides utility assistance to veterans who are experiencing a financial hardship. It appears that these funds are managed through a partnership with local Community Action Councils.
Good Samaritan Fund (Stark County)
About 1/3 of Good Samaritan Funds are given to help with utility bills. Another third is set aside for rent relief, and the final third goes to assorted costs. The goal of this program is to help people remain safely in their homes.
These funds are distributed by local clergy members who help identify working families who need extra support. There does not appear to be a website for this service, but the United Way recommends reaching out to Rev. Al Harmon in Toulon, Rev. Amy Holman in Bradford, or Rev. Andy Hopp in Wyoming if you need assistance.
Heartline (Woodford County)
Heartline can provide financial assistance with rent, utilities, food, diapers, clothing, household or hygiene products, medications, gas and transportation needs. However, you will have to work one-on-one with a Program Manager in order to receive assistance from this program.
The Prevail Emergency Assistance Program can provide assistance with food, housing, utilities and transportation for at-risk families. You will need to provide proof of ID, address, and your bill.
Illinois Restaurant Association
The Illinois Restaurant Associations Educational Foundation (IREAF) provides emergency assistance to Illinois residents who work in the food and beverage industry. In order to qualify, you must apply within 90 days of experience an accident, injury, illness, death of an immediate family member or natural disaster.
You can only receive one grant in your lifetime. Grants typically range from $250 to $3,000 from this program. You can find the requirements on the Illinois Restaurant Association website.
Poverello Outreach serves working residents of select zip codes within LaSalle, Livingston, Marshall, Putnam, and Woodford County. It is hosted by the Saint Patrick Church of Minonk.
Appointments are required. Get the most up-to-date contact information on their website.
The Salvation Army may be able to assist with emergency electric bill assistance in Illinois. This service varies by location. However, we were able to confirm that both Canton, Peoria and Pekin branches assist with utility costs.
In Canton, you will be required to provide a photo ID, proof of income, and evidence of a financial hardship. You may need to bring other documentation as well. You will have to call them to schedule an appointment in order to apply.
Most towns in Illinois appear to have a Community Assistance, General Assistance or Emergency Assistance fund. These funds are administered by local Township Offices and can be used to help with rent, water bill and of course electric bill assistance in Illinois.
Veterans Assistance Commissions
Some, if not all, Illinois counties have an agency dedicated to supporting veterans with emergency financial needs.
For example, the Woodford County Veterans Assistance Commission can provide financial assistance to low income veterans who live in Woodford County. They can assist with basic living expenses, such as housing and utilities. Peoria County has a similar program, as do many other counties.
Warm Neighbors Cool Friends
Warm Neighbors Cool Friends is an organization that serves moderate-income families with their utility bills. You have to meet income limits in order to qualify, and these income limits specify both a minimum and a maximum income range. The goal is to serve people who make too much for LIHEAP but are still struggling financially.
The program has a specific service area, which seems to center around Peoria, Champaign, Decatur, Belleville, Quincy and the surrounding area.
Nationwide Assistance Programs
There are some programs, like the Red Cross Military Services, that can provide assistance to families in Illinois and other states. To reduce the redundancy on our website, we have chosen to place all of those nationwide assistance programs in a single post. Get the details.
Electric Company Assistance Programs
Surprisingly, one of the easiest ways to get electric bill assistance in Illinois is to talk to your electric service provider! These companies often offer programs that can help you catch up on past due balances and reduce your future bills.
Budget Billing is a cool feature that averages the amount of your bill over 12 months so that you’re never surprised by an outrageously high seasonal bill. Many low income customers have found that they can pay their bill more consistently when they use budget billing, because they always know how much the bill will be.
Home Energy Audits
Many utility companies will conduct free home energy audits to help you figure out why your bills are so expensive and what you can do to reduce them. It doesn’t sound very exciting, but this is actually one of the most effective forms of electric bill assistance in Illinios!
The home audits will reveal why your bills are expensive and give you easy, affordable solutions to fix those extra expenses. In some cases, these home energy audits can provide you with free home improvements and even act as a stepping stone to the weatherization program.
Discounts & Freebies
Many utility providers offer discounts for certain customers, such as senior citizens. Some also offer free energy-efficiency equipment, home audits, and other helpful tools.
We’ve dug into several of Illinois’ major utility providers to find more information about those programs. You can select the links below to find out what discounts are available to you:
- Ameren Illinois
- CenterPoint Energy
- City, Water, Light and Power
- Green Mountain Energy
- Jo Carroll Energy
- Just Energy
- MidAmerican Energy
- Nicor Gas
- Peoples Gas
With electricity costs on the rise, many Illinois residents are looking for ways to save money on their power bills. Fortunately, there are several simple steps you can take to reduce your energy consumption and lower your monthly bills. This article has shown you how to get help from government agencies, community resources and other providers that provide electric bill assistance in Illinois.