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Utilities Kingston details assistance programs to avoid service disruptions

Photo by Tori Stafford.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the winter ban on electricity disconnections for non-payment of all residential and small business customers in Ontario was extended to Friday, Jul. 31, 2020. Utilities Kingston also extended this disconnection ban to all customers and all utilities. As this date nears, Utilities Kingston reminds customers of the support available during this difficult time and help avoid a potential disruption in service. 

Financial assistance programs and payment arrangements are available for those who need them.

“We understand that this has been a very difficult time for our community. For customers who are struggling to pay their bills, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. We want to make flexible payment arrangements and connect you with financial assistance programs, and avoid disrupting utility services,” said Jim Keech, president and CEO of Utilities Kingston, in a press release on Monday, Jul. 13, 2020.

Programs Available:

There are a number of special programs available in Ontario to assist low-income energy consumers. There are certain criteria which need to be met to qualify for these programs:

Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP)
This support program provides low-income consumers with a monthly on-bill credit to reduce their electricity bill.  Ongoing help is available through this program.

Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP)
This program provides emergency assistance to those in need and at risk of a disruption in service.  Application information is available from the Kingston Community Health Centre. Contact them at 613-542-2949, extension 2143. There is an increase in wait times due to larger volumes of people in the community requiring assistance. Your patience is appreciated.

Conservation programs
Conservation programs are available to help customers reduce their energy use. Some of these are special programs for low-income customers. Visit www.saveonenergy.ca for tips and information about the Home Assistance Program.

AffordAbility Fund™ 
If you don’t qualify for LEAP or OESP but are having trouble keeping up with your electricity bill and the cost of energy-saving upgrades is out of reach, the AffordAbility Fund™ can help. The fund is designed to help lower your monthly electricity costs by improving the energy efficiency of your home. You may qualify for free upgrades, including ENERGY STAR® certified LED bulbs, insulation, appliances, and weatherstripping. See what level of support you qualify for.

COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) 
Beginning Monday, Jul. 13, 2020, Utilities Kingston is delivering the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program or CEAP, funded by the Government of Ontario.  CEAP provides a one-time, on-bill credit to eligible residential electricity and natural gas customers who have experienced hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This program is intended to help residents catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments. 

There is no application deadline, however funding for the program is limited.  Complete applications for eligible customers will be processed in the order received and any available credit will be applied to the next bill. Utilities Kingston electricity and gas customers can learn more and apply at https://utilitieskingston.com/News/Article/Apply-to-the-COVID19-Energy-Assistance-Program-.

Request payment assistance online
Complete the online form to request payment assistance, including flexible payment terms and arrears payment agreements, at https://utilitieskingston.com/Accounts/RequestPaymentAssistance. A member of the Utilities Kingston team will review the request and respond by email or phone call, as quickly as possible.

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