Low-income households often spend more of their income on energy costs than other more affluent households. In some cases, these low-income families are spending anywhere from 10 to 35 percent of annual income on utility bills. Here in Chicago, families with low incomes tend to live in old, energy-intensive housing, which adds to the energy burden. Meanwhile, the energy sector in Illinois is in transition as it modernizes its infrastructure, enabling new technologies that give households more control of their energy usage and costs than ever before.

We can leverage these new technologies to help low-income families. In partnership with ComEd, Elevate Energy is honored to receive a $650,000 Innovation Challenge grant from the University of Chicago Energy & Environment Lab. The one-year pilot program will employ smart meters, energy efficiency, and innovative financial tools to enable a group of low-income households to take control of their energy usage and payment strategy with the goal of reducing overall household energy usage, increasing on-time bill payments, and avoiding a cycle of late fees and reconnection charges.

“We are pleased to partner with Elevate Energy to explore additional ways in which we can leverage smart meter technology to bring greater value to our customers,” said Chuck Walls, vice president of Customer Revenue Assurance, ComEd. “Although we offer a variety of financial assistance programs and billing and payment options to help low-income customers, we hope this pilot program will provide another resource to help customers effectively manage their electric bill as well as identify new ways to offer customer assistance to customers in need.”

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