There are a few programs from Decatur Utilities that may be able to help qualified low income, seniors, and disabled customers. While the company does not offer extensive financial aid on their own, they do have some resources or referrals available, including to LIHEAP or the regional Operation Warm program.
Maybe the primary program available is Operation Warm. This is run in partnership with other non-profit organizations, such as the Community Action Partnership of North Alabama. It relies on donations from the community and all funds offered from the program are very limited.
Most of the financial assistance is paid out as a last resort, and customers/applicants need to have explored other options first. In addition, Operation Warm will also focus on senior citizens, handicapped, or the elderly in the service territory. Those individuals facing a medical crisis may also be able to benefit from it. Funds can be used to make a partial payment to stop a disconnection or maybe keep the power on while a family determines what their next option is.
Anyone from the region can help keep Operation Warm keep running. People can help fund this Decatur Utilities program by donating a few dollars (or maybe even $1) to their monthly bill. All money will go towards helping the less fortunate and not to administrative costs. It is also tax deductible.
Note that Decatur Utilities does not accept or process applications for financial aid. Nor do they determine who will qualify or distribute funds. All of this is done by the Community Action Partnership of North Alabama. Other local non-profits, such as case managers from the Salvation Army, may have insight into this program as well.
Budget billing plans are another program offered by Decatur Utilities. The main purpose of this budget billing program is to help customers of all income levels plan their monthly expenses. The program will help them avoid extreme utility bills associated by cold or hot weather. Those who enroll can pay an equal amount on their account each month.
The program is wide ranging. Customers with no more than one late payment per year on their account and that also have continuous utility service at the same address for up to one year are eligible to enroll. People need to stop by the company and their main office in order to apply.
If you think you may miss a payment on your account or are struggling, call Decatur Utilities right away. Maybe there will be some type of payment plan they can offer. If you do miss a payment on one of your monthly bills, up to 14 days will be provided to the household before a disconnection occurs. Late charges may be applied to your account as well.
A Medical Priority List is also in place. This means that if a power outage were to occur, then the customer will be contacted in advance as well. So they can plan a workaround.
Very low income customers of Decatur Utilities also can receive assistance from the federal government and state of Alabama programs as well. The most commonly used is LIHEAP, or low income energy assistance.
For those that qualify, a grant will be used to help pay down your bill. In some cases a credit will be placed on your account as well. Many of the households will also be put onto a waiting list for weatherization. This is another free conservation program that will help people save money. Things like insulation, furnace tune ups and more can be made to qualified Decatur Utilities households.
All of these are options when you are struggling. The company can be reached at (256) 552-1400.
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