Columbus, Ohio (WKBN) – The Ohio PUCO Special Reconnection Order (SRO) has begun, offering electric and natural gas reconnection service for the winter months. There is no income restriction.

Between now and April 13, 2023, customers can reconnect service or avoid disconnection for the winter season for $175, plus a reconnection fee.

Customers who take advantage of the program must set up a payment plan for their outstanding balance. If service has already been disconnected, reconnection using the program requires an additional $36 charge.

The program applies only to Ohio’s investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities and does not apply to municipally-owned utilities or rural electric co-ops.

Contact your local utility to set it up:

  • The Order allows any electric or natural gas customer of an investor-owned utility to avoid disconnection or to reconnect their service for $175, even if the customer owes more and cannot afford to pay the entire balance.
  • If reconnection charges apply, customers may also be charged up to $36 at the time of reconnection. If the reconnection fee is greater than $36, the customer may have the balance of the fee applied to the next month’s bill.
  • Customers owing more than $175 will then need to make payment arrangements with the utility for the rest of their past due amount. For some customers, this may include enrolling in Ohio’s Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP Plus).
  • Eligible PIPP Plus customers with past due amounts greater than $175 may be able to have any remaining unpaid balance placed in their PIPP arrearage. For more information, contact the local community action agency.
  • The SRO can also be used by consumers wishing to establish new service. If charged a security deposit by the natural gas or electric utility company that exceeds $175, customers can pay $175 and be charged the remainder of the deposit on their next month’s bill.

If you are eligible for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) which is based on 175% of the federal poverty guidelines, they may be able to use the HEAP Winter Crisis Program to secure the $175 required to maintain or restore their utility service under the SRO rules.

  • Consumers may use the SRO once per utility during the heating season as defined above; or
  • If both the gas and electric utilities are in disconnect status (disconnected or with a disconnect notice) the customer may use the SRO to apply to both utilities at the same time, splitting the $175 between the two.