If you live in a NOPEC community, which Richmond Heights is one, you are automatically included, unless you choose not to be. Ohio has what is called an “opt-out” procedure. This means that all eligible customers of an aggregated community become part of the buying group unless they take specific action to opt out of the aggregation. Opt-out notices are sent to every eligible natural gas consumer every two years. Under Ohio law (SB221) electricity customers may receive an opt-out notice every three years.
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Customers having difficulty paying their utility bills may be eligible for special financial assistance programs.
In Northeast Ohio, customer assistance programs include:
• Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP Plus) The Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP Plus) is an extended payment arrangement that allows Ohio customers meeting program guidelines to pay a percentage of their income or $10.00 per month, whichever is greater, instead of their usual electricity bill. Eligible customers must have a household income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. For more information, call (800) 282-0880.
• Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) HEAP is a federally funded grant program administered by the State of Ohio Department of Development through a network of local community action agencies. HEAP provides customers help with paying winter heating bills, and occasionally summer cooling bills. For more information, call (800) 589-3101.
• Salvation Army Emergency Hardship Programs The Salvation Army organizations across the Ohio utility territories offer emergency assistance programs for those who have suffered a recent financial hardship and need temporary help to pay their electricity bill. Contact your local Salvation Army agency to learn more.
• Emergency Assistance Additional help in paying utility bills may also be available to low-income residents through local county departments of human services, community action agencies, soldier's relief commissions or veteran's services offices. Listings for these resources can be found in the blue pages at the front of your local telephone directory, or you can call your county government or visit them online to learn more.