Winter Reconnect Order: Maintain electric and natural gas service
The PUCO has extended the Winter Reconnect Order through May 1, 2020. Additionally, the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) and the Winter Crisis Program have also been extended. Visit the Ohio Development Services Agency utility assistance page here for more information on those progams.
What is the Winter Reconnect Order?
The Winter Reconnect Order has been issued by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) on an annual basis. The order allows residential customers who are disconnected or are threatened with disconnection to pay a maximum amount of $175 to have their service restored or maintained.
Who is eligible to use the Winter Reconnect Order?
Any residential customer who is served by a regulated utility company, regardless of income, may use the Winter Reconnect Order, to establish, maintain or restore service. Customers that have multiple residential accounts may only utilize the winter reconnection order at their primary residence.
Who offers the Winter Reconnect Order?
All regulated natural gas and electric companies must comply with the Winter Reconnect Order. To see the full list of regulated utility companies in Ohio, click here.
When can the Winter Reconnect Order be used?
The Winter Reconnect Order may be used once from Oct. 14, 2019 through May 1, 2020.
How can a customer sign up for the Winter Reconnect Order?
There is no sign up required. Customers can simply contact their utility and mention the Winter Reconnect Order. Regulated utilities in Ohio are familiar with the order and will be able to guide consumers through the process.
How much is a customer required to pay with the Winter Reconnect Order?
If a residential customer’s service has been disconnected for non-payment or is threatened with disconnection, he or she may pay the required $175, and if applicable, a reconnection fee of nor more than $36, to the utility company and follow the company’s procedures to get reconnected. If paying at an authorized agent, the customer will also need to call their utility with the receipt number to report the payment.
The Winter Reconnect Order payment of $175 can be split between two regulated utility companies if both utilities have been disconnected or are threatened with disconnection. Customers requesting to use a split payment must contact both of their regulated utility companies.
Customers requesting new natural gas or electric service, who have no previous balance with their utility, may establish service under the winter reconnect order by paying $175, rather than paying the required security deposit. Such customers may have the remaining balance of the security deposit added to their next month’s bill.
What is a reconnection charge?
If your utility has a reconnection charge, it is a fee that must be paid before service can begin again. The PUCO approves a reconnection charge for each utility company and the utility is not allowed to charge more than the set amount. Any company that does not have a reconnection charge may not assess one. If the company's approved reconnection charge is greater than $36, the remaining amount of the reconnection charge may be added to their next month’s bill.
Can the $175 payment be made by a third party?
Yes. Customers who are at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty guideline, may be eligible to receive funds through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) Winter Crisis program. For a complete list of HEAP providers please contact (800) 282-0880.
What if the customer owes more than $175 to the utility company?
Regardless of how much a consumer may owe a utility, if they may make the $175 payment, plus a reconnection fee of no more than $36, the utility must restore or maintain their service. Customers who utilize the Winter Reconnect Order are required to enroll on an extended payment plan.
Can the utility company require a security deposit before reconnecting service?
Yes. However, the total amount the company may require a customer to pay to maintain or reestablish service, including the security deposit, may not exceed the Winter Reconnect Order amount of $175, plus a reconnection fee of no more than $36. If the security deposit exceeds the Winter Reconnect Order and any applicable reconnection fee, the remaining amount of the security deposit may be added to the next month’s bill.