US utility Ameren Illinois said it has set aside $60,000 to help its low-income customers in Madison County to pay their bills that are in arrears.Stacey Young, supervisor of community relations for Ameren Illinois, said the $60,000 budget will be used to provide approximately 400 low-income consumers with $150 grants for them to clear their debts.
The grants will be offered at a 'Customer Assistance Event' organised by Ameren Illinois, Ameren Cares programme and the Madison County Community Development in Collinsville, today.
Since its launch in 2014, the Customer Assistance programme is an initiative designed by Ameren Illinois to improve its customer engagement through face to face interaction with its consumers.
Ameren Illinois uses the platform to identify solutions to queries raised by consumers regarding its services. Through the programme, the utility educates its customers on how they can improve their energy efficiency to lower their energy bills.
The energy provider will also provide its customers at the event with some LED bulbs.
Ameren Illinois has also introduced a payment plan initiative to help its customers clear their bill arrears and avoid having their service disconnected.
Commenting on the introduction of the payment plan, Shirley Stennis, director of the payment plan at Ameren Illinois, said “We encourage our customers to take advantage of this 10% down offer so they can avoid having their service disconnected. Disconnection of service is always a last resort."
The payment plan programme runs until March 31. [Illinois community reaches nearly $1m in electricity cost savings]
Smart meters and energy efficiency
Ameren Illinois is also deploying smart meters under efforts to help its gas and electric consumers improve management of their energy usage to reduce their energy bills.
In the last quarter of 2016, the US utility said it plans to improve its service reliability by replacing existing analogue gas and electric meters with smart meters in four counties in Illinois.
The energy provider started the installation of the two-way communication system for its 15,400 residential and small business customers in Bureau, Henry, Knox and Stark counties as from December 2016 through to 2017.
Daetta Jones, division director for Ameren Illinois in the four Illinois counties, said: “This advanced technology will provide our customers with access to more choices for pricing options and energy efficiency tools to help them manage their energy usage and better control their costs.”
Together with utility’s automated switches and grid sensors, the new smart meters will help Ameren Illinois to quickly identify grid failures and reduce the duration of power outages. Read more...
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