During the summer of 2011 one of the main utility companies in Colorado, Black Hills Energy, implemented a new bill-payment assistance program. The program was approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and it was rolled out to low income and other qualifying electric customers across their service territory.
The Black Hills Energy Assistance Program was created to help people pay their bills, and also offer education and energy conservation measures. Interested families will need to formally apply for this program.
The main goal for the energy-assistance programs is to provide assistance to electric customers who are struggling with the weak economy or an unexpected financial crisis. Individuals who are most in need may receive help. Importantly the energy company will educate customers about ways to save money on conservation and other ways to manage their monthly bill. So immediate financial assistance can be provided along with longer term support from energy conservation improvements to your home.
One of the keys in overcoming any hardship is communication. It is very important for any customer to contact Black Hills Energy when they find themselves in need of help. If you call early enough you can look into a wide range of possible solutions that include this new program as well as government resources such as LIHEAP. This program represents only one additional resource that is available to customers.
Other options available by Black Hills Energy for those customers who are facing unexpected emergencies or financial hardships include payment installment plans, budget billing, and due-date extensions to potentially postpone a disconnection or accommodate pay day schedules. As indicated above, contacting one of the utility’s customer service representatives is key to this entire process of receiving aid. Communication is usually the best way for customers to make sure that their unique situation is reviewed and that they are afforded every allowable option. Dial 888-890-5554 to reach a customer service representative.
If you apply for this new Black Hills Energy Assistance Program, qualifications will need to be met. Eligibility will be based on the applicant’s total household income and also federal government poverty guidelines. While the income levels may change based on funding, Black Hills Energy will accept applications from electric customers who are currently at or below certain poverty guidelines. The energy-assistance program will initially be funded by all customer classes per the decision made by Colorado Public Utilities Commission. What this means is that most customers would pay a minimal of about $0.25 cents monthly to fund the program.
If you do apply and are able to enroll, then the customer will also need to sign up for Black Hills Energy’s budget billing program. This will level set a customer’s monthly bill, so that they are not faced with spikes in their utility bills during the cold Colorado winters or hot summers.
In addition, applicants will also need to participate in free weatherization and energy efficiency programs. So customers will receive improvements to their homes, which can include insulation or heating and cooling system tune ups. Weatherization will in effect reduce a customer’s monthly utility bill, so they will require less financial assistance from Black Hills.
To get more information, including a print version of the terms of the program, customers can call the customer service center at 888-890-5554. Applications will also be available on the company’s website under the Programs and Services section. If you live in Pueblo Colorado, then those Black Hills Energy electric customers can pick up an application directly from the company by stopping by the Black Hills Energy Service Center at 105 S. Victoria Ave. Call for help as soon as possible.
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