Customer Assistance & Payment Options
Sometimes our customers experience financial hardships and need help paying their energy bills. These hardships can put customers in a tough situation where they have to choose between electricity and other basic human needs. This problem is not limited to just a few people. Within AEP’s service territory, the median income is 20% below the U.S. average and 96% of our customers live in counties where the median income is below the national average.
AEP has several initiatives and resources to help customers manage their energy bills, including monthly payment plans and energy assistance grants and programs. We also offer programs and resources to help our customers lower their electric bills and reduce their energy consumption, such as energy efficiency programs, rebates and incentives. Learn more about some of the many energy assistance programs offered across AEP’s service territory:
The funding available to support our energy assistance programs comes from a variety of sources, including the government, social service agencies and voluntary customer contributions. Income guidelines determine eligibility. Government-sponsored energy assistance programs provided approximately $65 million in federal and private energy assistance in 2019. We also received more than 24,200 pledges totaling more than $6.6 million in energy assistance from our self-serve agency websites.
Flexible Payment Options
A top pain point for our customers is their billing and payment experience. Our customers want simple and secure payment options through multiple digital channels. In response, we are continuing to simplify the payment process through creative mechanisms, such as working with regulators to implement rate structures that absorb or recover credit card fees rather than having customers pay them, as well as more flexible payment options.
The Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) PowerPay program allows customers to pre-pay for their electricity. On a daily basis, PSO charges customers for their electricity usage. We notify customers of their current balance, including how much energy they used the previous day and approximately the number of days that remain in their account. PowerPay customers in arrears are able to keep the lights on while paying off their past due balance.
In Indiana, qualified I&M residential and small commercial customers can sign up for an EZ Bill Plan. Each customer receives a custom rate based on the location’s previous 12 months of energy use and expected weather in the coming year. This gives customers predictability of their monthly bills, as long as they remain enrolled in the program.
Read about AEP’s efforts to support our customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.