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For Immediate Release
ComEd Media Relations
ComEd legislation would continue CARE program beyond 2016
CHICAGO (May 11, 2016) — For people working to make ends meet, an unanticipated medical emergency can put an intolerable strain on a budget. Today at a press conference, ComEd announced a new program to help bring some relief to customers in need. The Hospital-Based Energy Assistance & Long-Term Health (HEAL) program expands ComEd's CARE program to provide funds to eligible customers facing an unforeseen extended hospitalization stay and/or long term outpatient care event.
ComEd is partnering with local hospitals and hospital networks within its territory to identify participants and streamline application process to reduce the patient's burden of going to their local administration agencies upon discharge after an extended stay. Current participating hospitals include La Rabida Children's Hospital. Other hospitals and networks are signing up to participate, as well.
"ComEd cares about our customers and we recognize the burden that unforeseen medical expenses can have on low income families," said Val Jensen, senior vice president of customer operations for ComEd. "The new HEAL program lets us work directly with hospitals to bring support to patients in need."
The ComEd CARE programs are focused on helping military families, veterans, senior citizens and people who may have experienced a job loss, illness or disability and need help with paying their electric bills. ComEd also offers assistance to non-profit organizations that are experiencing a hardship. Under the Smart Grid law, enacted in 2011, ComEd committed $50 million for five years to help eligible customers with their utility bills. 2016 is the final year of the program.
"These assistance funds help families who struggle with financial hardships manage their energy needs and costs. The HEAL program is bringing greatly needed relief to families experiencing the difficulties that come with medical issues. I applaud ComEd for helping people that need it most, through their low-income CARE programs and hope we can continue this assistance in the future," said Senator Kwame Raoul.
As part of the Next Generation Energy Plan legislation introduced last week, ComEd committed $1 billion of funding for low-income assistance, mostly through energy efficiency, which would expand the CARE program for five more years. Following 2016, without legislative support, the CARE program would end.
"Last year through ComEd's CARE programs, we were able to help more than 22,000 customers with financial grants," said Jensen. "This is a valuable plan for customers with hardships to find some peace of mind. We are hopeful that the General Assembly will consider the legislation and we could continue the CARE program and bring other benefits to customers."
For more information on ComEd's financial assistance programs, including eligibility requirements please visit ComEd.com/CARE or call 1-888-806-CARE (2273).
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