Alliant Energy: Urges qualified customers to apply for energy assistance

Media Contact: Scott Reigstad (608) 458-3145

More households are eligible for assistance this year and funds are available now

MADISON, WI – October 15, 2009 – Alliant Energy is reminding customers that energy assistance funds are now available for qualified individuals and families for the upcoming heating season through the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP). The Program provides dollars to moderate and low income level households to help pay a portion of their winter gas or electric bills.

“It’s very important for customers to know that there are new income guidelines for WHEAP this winter heating season,” said Frank Galle, Alliant Energy Senior Manager of Customer Support. “As a result, a greater number of households are eligible for funds so customers that did not qualify for energy assistance in the past may qualify this time around.”

WHEAP payments depend upon household size, income level, and home energy costs. The program helps households with incomes at or below 60 percent of the state median income pay for home energy costs. For example, a family of four which earns approximately $45,000 annually or less, or a two-person family with earnings of about $30,600 or less, may qualify for energy assistance dollars.

To obtain energy assistance, qualified Wisconsin residents can apply to their local county energy assistance agency for WHEAP funds anytime between October 1, 2009 and May 15, 2010 or until funds are exhausted. Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible by calling 1-866-432-8947 to locate the nearest county agency that provides energy assistance funds or by visiting Qualification for energy assistance is not based on whether someone is behind on their energy bills or rents versus owning a home. Applicants must bring these items to the agencies to determine eligibility:

* Proof of income for all household members 18 years or older for the previous three months.

* Social Security cards for everyone in the household.

* Current energy bill.

* Rent certificate or statement from the landlord confirming whether or not heat is included in rent payments.

WHEAP administers the federally-funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Public Benefits Energy Assistance Program. The organization is part of the state’s comprehensive Home Energy Plus program which also provides assistance with emergency energy needs, emergency furnace repairs, and weatherization and conservation services. It provides energy assistance dollars to over 178,000 Wisconsin moderate and low income households annually.

“In these challenging economic times, it’s important that people know that they do not have to wait until they are behind on their utility bills to receive energy assistance,” added Galle. “We encourage customers to check their eligibility now and apply as soon as possible if they qualify for funds.”