CIRCLEVILLE — Columbia Gas of Ohio and Pickaway County Community Action (PICCA) have once again come together to aid those facing financial hardship.

PICCA is now offering the Winter Crisis program. The program provides income-eligible customers a one-time energy assistance grant to people who have already had their gas service shut off or to those facing shut offs due to non-payment.

“COVID-19 has caused severe economic hardship and many people are having difficulty paying their energy bills,” Nick Pruitt, Energy Director for the Pickaway Community Action Agency, which administers the Winter Crisis Program, said. “Even individuals who have not previously received assistance may now be eligible because they were laid off or furloughed. We want all Columbia Gas customers in Pickaway County to know that funds are available, but we can’t help if they don’t reach out.”

Columbia Gas customers can also use the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Winter Reconnect Order which runs through April 21. The order allows anyone facing shutoff to reconnect for $175 plus a reconnection fee no matter the amount that is past due. No income guidelines are required for this benefit.

Columbia Gas also offers a variety of payment plans to help make gas bills more manageable for those who may have fallen behind.

“Especially amidst a global pandemic, we understand heating season will present challenges for our customers,” Vince Parisi, President and COO, Columbia Gas of Ohio, said. “Our entire team is here to help. Please connect with us or our friends at PICCA to get the assistance you need this winter.”

Anyone interested in applying for the Winter Crisis Program should contact PICCA at 740-477-1655 or www.picca.info to verify income and begin the process.

For more information on the Winter Reconnect Order or payment plans, call Columbia Gas at 1-800-344-4077, visit ColumbiaGasOhio.com/WinterHelp or reach out on Facebook, Twitter or Nextdoor.

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