It has been a bitterly cold winter and because of the extreme temperatures, many Middleburg Heights residents have had trouble paying their utility bills and knowing where to turn for help.

Mayor Gary W. Starr and all Middleburg Heights City Council members want to ensure the safety of every resident and business owner.

“We know residents have seen their bills increase because of the extreme weather over the last couple weeks.  No family or individual should have to choose between paying their utility bill and paying for other necessities.  There is help available from Columbia Gas, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company and other resources,” said Mayor Starr.

Councilman John Grech has received more calls than usual this winter from residents seeking assistance.

Grech said, “I have had a growing concern for many of our residents.  Cold weather and increased utility bills do not discriminate; it affects families, seniors and those on fixed incomes.  Below we have put together some resources to assist anyone who may need help.”

For those Middleburg Height’s customers in need of gas assistance or electrical assistance both Columbia Gas and Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company suggest that your first call should be to the Council for Economic Opportunities of Greater Cleveland (216) 518-4014.

The Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland (CEOGC) is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to serving people in need in the Greater Cleveland and Cuyahoga County area.

One of CEOGC programs is called the PIPP plan, which stands for “Percentage Income Payment Plan.” 

Both of the above utility companies say that it is better to call before your utility is disconnected.  For most customers the utilities companies will try to assist you in any way they can.

However, if you have already been disconnected from your gas, Columbia Gas has a Winter Reconnect Option program.  Please call 1-800-344-4077.

Columbia Gas Company also has a new program that was just started on    January 3, 2014 called the “Fuel Fund.”  This program assists those customers who have had their gas turned off or for those that are concerned that they cannot pay their bill.  Please (1-800-234-4077).

If all efforts fail in getting your gas turned back on or keeping your gas on, Columbia Gas has a “Last Resort Program.”  These funds are distributed on a first come first serve basis and it is geared for customers that have already exhausted every other option.  Please call 1-800-344-4077.

The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company also has special programs that can help when it comes to paying your electric bill.  They have a “Special Assistance Program” with available funding to help those in need and pay their bill and programs that address medical needs.

The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company also has a program called “Extended Due Date.” Customers who are at least 60 years of age and who receive a Social Security or pension check, or if you receive disability assistance, and your electric bill is usually due just before your monthly benefit check comes, they can extend your payment due date until after your check arrives. For those that do not meet these requirements and are having difficulty paying your electric bill on time, The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company can arrange for an extended payment plan as well.  This maintains service while you make payments more suited to your financial situation.

There is also a “Military Deferred Payment Program” that is designed to assist customers who are having financial difficulties because their family members have been called to active military duty.

Below are a few telephone numbers and additional resources.

Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus(PIPP Plus) 1-800-589-3101

Community Outreach Opportunity Program (CO-OP)  Cleveland Salvation Army, 216-861-8185

Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) – 1-800-589-3101