032322CM0208SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Michael E. Hastings’ law to expand access to utility bill assistance programs goes into effect today.

“This law will give those struggling a chance to get back on their feet,” said Hastings (D-Frankfort). “As we prepare for extreme summer weather, helping residents stay safe in their homes has never been more important.”

Under Senate Bill 265, families under 60% of the Illinois median income level are now eligible for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP). Additionally the legislation establishes a priority application period for households with children under age 6 and extends LIHEAP and PIPP availability to all eligible low-income residents.

The law also encourages the PIPP program to spend at least 80% of its available annual funding and double the 2020 program participation by 2024.

“By expanding and promoting these programs, we can give those who need extra assistance a helping hand,” Hastings said. “We need to continue to look for ways to lower utility bills and allow the hardworking families of the South Suburbs the opportunity to save money.”

LIHEAP and PIPP offer bill payment assistance to low-income residential utility customers by helping eligible households pay for their gas and electric utility service. Both programs are administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs.

Senate Bill 265 was signed into law last July and goes into effect on June 1, 2022.