Commonwealth Edison, or ComEd, a unit of Chicago-based Exelon (NYSE:EXC), has announced that as part of its CARE assistance programs it will be distributing $300,000 to help small businesses and non-profits with their electricity bills. The program, which runs through October 1, 2008 on a first-come, first-served basis, provides a one-time grant of up to $2,500 for eligible organizations.

To be eligible, a business must demonstrate that it has suffered a special circumstance or hardship, such as property damage due to natural disaster; damage or theft from criminal activity or vandalism; unexpected loss in funding or financial aid; or all-electric space-heating customers experiencing high bills due to extreme weather.

"Rising prices for gasoline, food and other necessities are not only affecting consumers-they're also affecting the organizations that drive our economy and serve our communities," Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd's executive vice president of customer operations, regulatory and external affairs, said in a statement. "That's why ComEd is reaching out to these small companies and community groups to help them pay their bills and allow them to stay focused on their core missions."