Residents of the southeastern United States, including families in Mississippi and Arkankas, that receive their utility or gas service from Centerpoint Energy have access to a few different assistance programs. The resources are focused on those who would be at risk without electricity, including senior citizens, the elderly, and low income families with children. However anyone can apply and receive help, if resources are available and income conditions are met. Any aid provided to families in the states is limited and comes with a formal application process.
Payment extensions and/or assistance programs operate in both Mississippi and Arkansas. The programs rely target those customers that are faced with some form of short term financial hardship or crisis. People should call Centerpoint before they fall behind on their bills. If you wait until you miss payments, it may be too late.
Never wait until you receive a shut-off or disconnection notice. Also do not wait until your natural gas service has been disconnected. Financial aid and payment plans need to be provided before a customer reaches those points. Also, if your gas service has been disconnected then reconnection fees will need to be paid in Arkansas.
Payment extensions may be arranged by for past-due bill for up to 30 days. This will provide customers more time. It is most effective to those that are facing a very short term crisis and who just need short term, temporary assistance. It is generally offered to those with a consistent payment history on their account in the past. Income guidelines also need to be met.
The federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, can provide the poor, seniors, and disabled with grants for paying their utilities. Community action agencies across both states are involved in administering both Regular Assistance and Crisis Intervention to those that qualify. Oftentimes the aid is provided in the form of credits on your Centerpoint Energy bill.
Additional financial aid is offered by a program known as Lend a helping hand. CenterPoint Energy and customers across Mississippi and nearby Arkansas donate funds to it. The company also provides matching grants to those that qualify.
Centerpoint Energy works with regional charities such as the American Red Cross in Mississippi, the United Way, and the Salvation Army to help process applications for Lend a helping hand and raise funds. Together these groups work to provide utility bill assistance for families and individuals in need. Funds can assist thousands of CenterPoint Energy customers, including families with young children, seniors, and customers with disabilities each year across Arkansas and other areas. As indicated, this program raises money and is funded through donations from customers. All money raised goes to those local non-profits and can help pay natural gas expenses and other utilities.
Another widely used program is the Average Monthly Billing. This will level set a customers natural gas costs and average it out over the course of the year. While this is not technically financial assistance and the Arkansas customer will still need to pay for the Centerpoint natural gas they use, it does allow many people to better manager their costs.
Like most companies, Centerpoint Energy will try to work with customers who need more time or some sort of one time assistance. The applicants from southeastern states, including Mississippi, generally need to be self-sufficiency but are facing a short term hardship. Call the company at 800-992-7552 (in Arkansas) or 800-371-5417 (in Mississippi) for information, intake, or referrals.
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