Columbia Gas does offer qualified customers a number of emergency assistance programs. Some are funded by the federal government or state of Ohio, and others are administered directly by the energy company. The primary programs include Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), Payment Plans, HeatShare, and WarmChoice, among others. Get more details on all of these Columbia Gas resources below.
One time cash grant assistance can be provided by the federal government created HEAP, or Home Energy Assistance Program. This is administered by your local community action agency, so you will need to call them to apply. Or dial the HEAP hotline at 1-800-282-0880.
The application period is only open once per year, and most of the funds are targeted at low income seniors and families with children. An objective is to help prevent the disconnection of a customer’s Columbia Gas service.
There is also an Emergency HEAP program, which is known as the Winter Crisis Program. People who are faced with imminent disconnection, or whose service is currently shut off, are the primary beneficiaries of this financial assistance program. Winter Crisis is offered at the same time as the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) or another Columbia Gas payment plan. Customer need to sign up for those resources in order to receive emergency benefits. Not only can your heating and utility bill be paid for, but the Ohio emergency HEAP program can also help pay for heating system repairs or replacement in certain cases.
WarmChoice is an energy saving/weatherization program for qualified customers. Various energy conservation services are provided for free to customers, and the program can help people reduce their utility and heating bills by an average of 30 percent per year. In addition to saving money, all Columbia Gas customers will be provided safe gas heating equipment and a more comfortable home to live in. Weatherization measures can include, but are not limited to, free insulation, air sealing and high-efficiency furnaces. To learn more, call the state of Ohio referral service at 1-800-952-3037 to be directed to your local provider or community action agency.
Columbia Gas Payment Plans - As indicated above, these are offered for a number of situations. It is the energy companies attempt to help qualified customers who are struggling. Maybe they are unemployed or are facing a crisis. Those who are having difficulty paying their gas bills may be qualified for a payment plan. Dial 1-800-344-4077 to make special arrangements on your Columbia Gas bills.
HeatShare is a donation program for struggling customers that that was created by The Ohio Salvation Army as well as Columbia Gas. Customers, employees, and shareholders all donate money, and contributions are matched by the company. Payment-troubled customers who have exhausted other forms of government assistance or financial help, and who also have special hardships, may benefit from the HeatShare program. Dial your Salvation Army to apply.
Budget Payment Plan is open to all residential customers, regardless of their income. The plan will in effect spread the cost of winter heating and summer cooling bills more evenly over the year. While it won’t lower your overall cost of home heating bills, or provide you with cash assistance, it can help people budget by helping them avoid peak winter bills. This will help people plan household expenses more conveniently. Dial 1-800-344-4077 to reach a Columbia Gas customer service representative.
Home Performance Solutions is a rebate program. This is also available to all Columbia Gas residential heating customers. The program offers discounted home energy audits and generous rebates on cost-effective energy-efficiency improvements, including air sealing, attic and wall insulation and replacement high-efficiency gas furnaces. The rebates can reduce the cost of the energy-efficiency improvements by hundreds or thousands of dollars, and the improvements can reduce a home’s annual energy usage by 30% or more. Call 1-877-644-6674 for details.
Auction Fuel Fund is an emergency financial assistance program of last resort. Applicants will need to have used all other available emergency assistance programs and grants. Up to $250 can be paid out as part of the Action Fuel Fund, and money will be used for paying heating bills.
The program is only for PIPP Plus customers, and individuals will be required to have received a notice of disconnection. This is not a charity program, and a customer payment must have been made within the last 90 days on their account. Call your local Community Action Agency in Ohio.
Utility Fuel Fund is also offered by community action agencies, and Columbia Gas customers can apply for this resource as well. It is very similar to the Action Fund mentioned above.
PIPP Plus, or Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus, is mandated by the state of Ohio. If you are a Columbia Gas customer, and your total household income is 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines (or less), then this program may be for you. It provides customers the right to pay just six percent of their monthly household income or a minimum of $10 for your natural gas bill year-round.
The PIPP Plus plan also includes an arrearage crediting program when you pay your bills in full. So this means any outstanding back bills on your account will be credited over time. Some of your old unpaid debts and the rest of that month’s utility bill will be waived.
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