AEP Ohio to help Ohio families to pay their electric bill, save energy

COLUMBUS -- Ohio families served by AEP will be eligible for immediate help in paying their electric bills and as many as 20,000 families will receive help in lowering their costs for electric power this winter season through a "Crisis Response Fund" and the distribution of home winterization kits announced by AEP Ohio, a unit of American Electric Power and the Ohio Department of Development.

The fund and the weatherization kits will be supported by AEP Ohio through an initial contribution of $1 million and will be managed by the Ohio Department of Development through 36 community action agencies that serve customers in the company's Ohio service territory.

The fund is targeted to households with incomes between 176 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty level, opening eligibility to families of four earning as much as $42,400 a year. Currently, families earning up to 175 percent of the poverty level are eligible for assistance under the state's Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) and for those with incomes at or below 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines are eligible for the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) program.

In addition to the bill payment assistance effort, AEP Ohio has partnered with the Ohio Department of Development and local community action agencies to provide its eligible low-income customers with home weatherization kits that include compact fluorescent light bulbs, outlet covers to prevent drafts, an LED night light, weather stripping, self-stick door sweep, temperature and water flow measurement gauges, and low-flow shower head, as well as important information on how to conserve energy and lower their energy costs.

AEP Ohio customers can learn whether they are eligible for the new assistance program, and apply for help in paying their electric bills, by contacting their local community action agency or the Ohio Department of Development's Home Energy Assistance Program toll-free hotline at 1-800-282-0880, Monday through Friday or visit