Energy assistance programs offered by utility companies.
Utility companies offer low income families, seniors, disabled and struggling customers various energy bill assistance programs in an effort to help them prevent a disconnection. These resources are offered directly by the company to households that live in their service territory. Programs can assist the customer with either paying or saving money on their monthly energy bills. The type of resources available vary by state, utility company, funding levels, and what is offered can even change based on the season.
The companies can provide direct financial assistance or referrals. Many will also offer some form of payment plan. Depending on the terms and conditions in place, assistance can come in the form of credits or grants to help customers pay their energy, heating, or cooling bills. Or certain programs can help individuals save money on their utilities through such services as weatherization or any number of other energy bill conservation resources.
The specifics of each program will vary based upon the utility company, the state or county you live in, your income and many other factors. For example, some companies will have local non-profit organizations process applications and administer the funds to those who need help. Other providers may partner with government agencies, and yet other companies will provide the heating and energy bill assistance directly to families and individuals who apply for support.
The bottom line is that there are many different options available to people. Most of the electric and gas companies in this nation only want to disconnect service as a last resort, so they are willing to find some type of solution. It is based press for them, and of course not good for the family when their utilities are turned off. So they offer plans for paying heating and energy bills. They also try to ensure that all energy programs are explored for the most vulnerable, such as the elderly or customer’s with a medical condition.
- Find below a state listing of utility bill assistance programs.
- Many electric, natural gas and utility companies will also support national and federal government programs. The customer service teams can provide applications for those offerings.
At the end of the day utility companies do not want to disconnect their customer’s power. They will try to assist as many people and families as possible with either paying their monthly energy bills or offer them more time to find a solution. If they do not take all these steps, it can be bad publicity for them when they have a large number of disconnections in their territory.
Many companies also have limited resources. It is expensive for them to both turn off service and also potentially reconnect a customer’s utilities at a later day. So most will try to offer as many grants and financial assistance programs as possible. Payment plans or some form of abatement are also commonly provided.
As a last resort, customers can also get referred to other non-profits, government programs, and services that they me eligible for. You should always call your utility company as soon as possible to ask for help and learn about the options that may be available to you.
Get information below on the hundreds of financial assistance programs and grants offered in states across the nation. Depending on the utility service provider and the applicant’s qualifications, there are many different options for income qualified customers. Learn about weatherization, grant programs, emergency financial aid, how to get credits or discounts on utility bills, and many other options. Select your state below to learn more.
National programs supported by most energy companies
There are also resources available that are considered to be more nationally based assistance programs, including these. Almost all energy companies can help people apply for them or direct customers to agencies that administer the services.
- Weatherization – This is a federal government funded program that provides qualified low income, elderly, and disabled customers with free energy saving enhancements to their homes. What may be done includes, but is not limited too, adding insulation, programmable thermostats, and caulking. Click here for details.
- Free heating oil – Some non-profit organizations provide a limited amount of free heating oil to customers in the Midwest and Northeast. This is often done in partnership with utility and gas companies and is offered during the fall, winter, and spring months. Read more free heating oil.
- Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LHEAP) - Another federal funded program that people can turn to for financial assistance and cash grants. There are two components. One is for paying regular monthly utility bills, with a focus on helping with heating bills. Read more on this option.
When you are faced with an imminent shut off of your service, the federal government funded and created LIHEAP also offers a crisis assistance program that can help someone facing a disconnection. This has a streamlined application process, so a decision is made in less time. To those that qualify, it provides cash grants or fuel in an emergency.
- Disconnection laws – Sadly many families do face disconnection, even after getting some form of financial help. Luckily most states have rules and regulations in place to protect customers, in particular the disabled, elderly or families with young children. Learn about state government utility disconnection laws.
- Low cost, high speed Internet service - Some cable providers or utility companies, such as Comcast, provide assistance to low income families with children. The access can help lower a household’s bill to a fraction of the cost of their usual access, and in some cases a computer is provided to them as well. Continue with low cost Internet access.
- Heating oil buying networks - While not an assistance program, people can save a substantial amount of money by buying their heating oil in bulk fashion. Learn more.
Utility, energy and heating bill assistance programs by state