Peoples Gas is urging customers who are behind on their energy bills to reach out as soon as possible to avoid disconnection. The state’s winter residential disconnection moratorium expired at the start of April.

If a customer establishes and maintains a payment plan, they are not at risk for disconnection.

Peoples Gas works with customers year-round to offer payment plans and help with energy assistance.

Thanks to lower natural gas prices and warmer weather, the typical residential customer’s heating bill was $75 less this winter than last winter.

 Disconnection is always a last resort

Customers behind on their bills can go to or use the Peoples Gas app to set up payment arrangements and connect with financial and energy assistance options. They can also call 866-556-6001.

To help customers with lower incomes, financial assistance is available through the Peoples Gas Share the Warmth program. Additional assistance is available through the federal government, which is making $177 million available for customers in Illinois.

 Beware of scammers

Unfortunately, scammers often try to take advantage of the end of the moratorium.

Scammers may pretend to be from Peoples Gas. They may even manipulate caller ID to display “Peoples Gas” or use a recording that sounds like it’s from the company.

Scammers will threaten to turn off customers’ energy in a short amount of time and demand immediate payment — often with a prepaid debit card, third-party digital payment app like Zelle or Venmo, or unusual payment method such as bitcoin.

These are all warning signs. If customers are ever in doubt about a phone call, they should hang up and call Peoples Gas.

Additional tips are available online.

Simple ways to manage costs

Peoples Gas encourages customers to manage their energy use all year long. Go to the Peoples Gas website for a checklist and more ways to save.