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ComEd Reminds Customers of Enhanced and More Flexible Assistance Options Available to Help Pay Electric Bills
Energy company urges customers to reach out to be connected to expanded bill-assistance and payment options
CHICAGO (March 31, 2022) – Recognizing that many Illinois families continue to face financial challenges brought on by both the pandemic and higher prices, ComEd reminds customers that finding help with paying electric bills could be a phone call or website away.
“As the provider of a critical service, we’re committed to monitoring the changing economic conditions that challenge some of our customers’ ability to pay their electric bills and enhancing our range of support options that will keep the lights on,” said Melissa Washington, ComEd's chief customer officer and senior vice president of customer operations. “But to help our customers, we need to hear from them. ComEd urges anyone who would like to learn about the assistance options available to get in touch with the ComEd care center or visit ComEd.com immediately – ComEd is ready to assist all our customers.”
ComEd representatives can help connect eligible customers to funding available through state and federal assistance programs, including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which is available through May 31, 2022. To bolster this support, ComEd also offers assistance through its Supplemental Arrearage Reduction Program (SARP), which is available to ComEd residential customers who qualified to receive energy-assistance benefits from LIHEAP.
"We have seen an unprecedented increase in the number of individuals seeking help with making ends meet, due to both the pandemic and other world events,” said Harold Rice, president and chief executive officer of the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County (CEDA). “That’s why we’re committed, more than ever, to leveraging our more than 55 years of operations, education and engagement with local residents, and partnering with organizations like ComEd, to provide high-quality services to families who need them most.”
Any customer experiencing difficulty with paying their electric bill is encouraged to call ComEd immediately at 1-800-334-7661 (1-800-EDISON-1), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to learn more on how to apply. Information on each of these options is available at ComEd.com/PaymentAssistance.
Enhanced payment options
In addition to financial-assistance options, ComEd also offers residential customers the following payment programs:
- A more flexible and generous deferred payment arrangement (DPA) of up to 12 months with zero dollars down through July 31, 2022, for low-income customers. All other residential customers who contact ComEd can sign up for a DPA of up to 12 months with 10-percent down through July 31, 2022.
- For any ComEd residential customer who has had service disconnected, but subsequently enrolls in LIHEAP or a Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP), ComEd will waive reconnection fees through July 31, 2022.
- Budget billing, which provides a predictable monthly payment based on your electricity usage from the last 12 months.
- Flexible payment options like due-date extensions.
- High-usage alerts, which enable customers to receive alerts when we notice their usage is trending higher than normal to help manage overall energy use, and energy-management tips to help customers manage energy use to save money now and on future energy bills.
Recently, ComEd announced that eligible low-income residential customers will also no longer be assessed late-payment fees or deposits, and any deposits already provided to ComEd are being returned. Visit ComEd.com/Eligibility for eligibility guidelines and to apply.
Easier access to assistance and energy-saving options
To streamline access to financial-assistance options and programs that can help families and individuals manage their electric bills, ComEd recently launched the Smart Assistance Manager (SAM).
SAM is an online self-service tool that can match customers with the payment-assistance programs for which they may eligible – including deferred-payment arrangements and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – then provides guidance and links to apply.
SAM also provides recommendations on energy-efficiency offerings that can save customers money and energy, including free home energy assessments and discounts on energy-saving products.
Support options are generated based on each customer’s household information, such as energy usage and billing history. Customers who create an online account with ComEd through the “My Account” tool can log in while using SAM to get even more personalized, targeted results. Customers interested in accessing this free tool can visit ComEd.com/SAM.
ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 200 energy company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers – the largest number of customers in the U.S. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Mobile Payment App Scams on the Rise
Mobile Payment App Scams on the Rise, ComEd and Better Business Bureau Warn Utility Customers
Scammers used payment networks like Cash App, QuickPay, Venmo and Zelle to bilk families and businesses out of more than $27,000 in January 2022
CHICAGO (Feb. 24, 2022) –The popularity of mobile payment apps like Cash App and Venmo is giving rise to incidents of scammers using these digital networks to bilk ComEd customers out of their hard-earned money. ComEd urges customers to be aware of these new scam attempts so they identify and avoid them.
In January 2022, ComEd received more than 240 reports of scams from customers, a more than 150-percent increase from January 2021. Even worse, the amount of money reported lost to successful scams rose dramatically to more than $27,000 in January 2022, 20 times more than January 2021.
Scammers are contacting ComEd customers by phone, although some contacts can be made by text or email, demanding payment to a particular account under the threat of immediate service disconnection. The imposter will instruct the customer to use a mobile payment app, which often have higher transaction limits than pre-paid cash cards.
“The ease of using mobile pay apps has made the process of scamming customers more efficient for imposters,” said Melissa Washington, ComEd’s chief customer officer and senior vice president of customer operations. “As scammers alter their schemes, ComEd will be there to alert customers of the latest attempts to con them out of money and personal information.”
“Scammers keep adding new tools like payment apps to take advantage of unsuspecting victims,” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Along with impersonating utility representatives, there are fake calls and emails from the IRS, Social Security, and other government officials demanding immediate payments. A lot of scams the BBB sees are based on unconventional payment methods. That is the tip-off to the rip-off. Never give out personal information or send money until you have contacted the company directly to check your account status.”
Tips to help identify scams
1. ComEd will never call or come to a customer’s home or business to:
- Ask for direct payment with a prepaid cash card, cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, or third-party payment app like Cash App, QuickPay, Venmo or Zelle
- Demand immediate payment
- Ask for a ComEd account number or other personal information, such as a Social Security number, driver’s license number or bank information
2. To identify an actual ComEd employee or communication, remember:
- All ComEd field employees wear a uniform with the ComEd logo and visibly display a company ID badge with the logo and employee’s name. ComEd recently changed its logo, so you may continue to see the former ComEd logo on uniforms, badges and vehicles until it is phased out
- Check the name on email or websites and make sure they match the name and address of the company you do business with. Look for misspellings or slight alterations
- Make a call to verify the suspected email or website is from a trusted source. Use a phone number from your personal business records or the company’s official website and not the number provided in the email
ComEd urges anyone who believes they have been a target or victim of a scam to call ComEd at 1-800-EDISON-1 (1-800-334-7661). To learn more visit ComEd.com/ScamAlert.
Payment Assistance to Help Customers Avoid Scam Attempts
“ComEd takes seriously its responsibility to help our customers protect themselves, and we realize scammers prey on those they suspect may be behind in their bills,” said Washington. “That is why we offer a number of payment-assistance options, including flexible payment options, financial assistance and usage alerts for current bills.”
Any customer experiencing a hardship or difficulty with their electric bill should call ComEd immediately at 1-800-334-7661 (1-800-EDISON-1), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to determine which programs may be available to help with past-due balances. For more information, visit ComEd.com/PaymentAssistance.
$40M Water Assistance Program for Shut-off Avoidance - State of IL
A household facing utilities being disconnected can apply for a water assistance program. The program is also available to those who’ve already had their services cut off or who have a past due balance over $250 combined for their water and wastewater services, according to a state website describing the program.
Illinois households must demonstrate income no greater than twice the federal poverty line to be eligible for funds from the program. For a family of four, that works out to a combined income of $54,000 or less.
State residents can apply once for help with their water bills and once for their wastewater bills over the course of the program, which began last Wednesday and runs to Aug. 31, 2023. Those seeking more information or wanting to see if they’re eligible can go to the state’s Help Illinois Families website https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/CommunityServices/HomeWeatherization/CommunityActionAgencies/Pages/helpIllinoisFamilies.aspx
Residents can also fill out a request-for-service form at that site, call the state’s hotline at 1-833-711-0374, or visit any of the 34 community action agencies across the state to seek out the assistance.