The primary resources available by Gulf Power include Project SHARE, weatherization, budget billing, and possibly payment plans. They are involved in many excellent programs that can either help people save money and energy, or assist with offering disconnection prevention.
The Salvation Army oversees the Project SHARE program. This can provide emergency assistance for a number of needs. It can help the disabled, elderly, the sick and others who are experiencing a financial hardship or a crisis. Funds and grants can be used to pay for bills and expenses including Gulf Power utility and cooling bills, repairs to air-conditioning and heating equipment, and other crisis situations. People need to be faced with an unexpected emergency, such as a job loss or medical condition.
This service is run by the Salvation Army, and all eligibility requirements are put into place by that organization. In addition, anyone who is interested in applying needs to call and/or stop by the Salvation Army Center in their town or county.
While applications and program terms are set by the agency, it is funded and paid for by electric utility customers, including those of Gulf Power, who donate and contribute through their monthly electric bills. So it relies heavily on contributions from people in the community.
Anyone who is interested in helping out can donate as much, or as little, as they would like to. Just decide to contribute any whole-dollar amount you choose each month, and it is tax deductible. Gulf Power customers can donate to the program by indicating so on their power bill, or by calling the utility provider.
To request assistance, as indicated above, contact your local Salvation Army corp center. However keep in mind priority is for people who are most vulnerable if their power was to be disconnected, so funds will often go to senior citizens, the sick, and families with young children.
The federal government Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides cash grants to non-profit agencies and local governments, who then distribute the money to low income customers, seniors, and others who qualify from Gulf Power and other companies. The money can assist eligible low-income and working poor households in paying the costs of home cooling and heating bills. Financial assistance paid out as part of LIHEAP includes utility bill payment, emergency and crisis assistance. This can include free fans, bill payment, repair or replacement of heating or cooling equipment, utility deposits and fees for restoring power, blankets, and more.
A program known as budget billing can help people plan their expenses and so called level set their monthly bills. This allows Gulf Power customers the ability to plan better, as they will know approximately how much their monthly energy bill will be each month. It will in effect help them avoid high cost fluctuations and spikes that would be caused by increased energy purchases during very hot or cold periods. Call customer service at 1-800-225-5797. All customers can sign up for this service, not just those who are struggling.
Save money from weatherization and a host of energy conservation programs. Gulf Power would like to see people and businesses make their homes as energy efficient as possible.
The key resource is the Weatherization Assistance Program, which they refer to as WAP. It is a federal government program that is offered statewide, and it will help people pay energy bills for low-income and working poor households.
Local governments, community action agencies, non-profit agencies, and Indian tribes may all receive grant money for weatherization or LIHEAP. The assistance for low income families includes air-infiltration/weather stripping, repair or replace inefficient heating and cooling units, attic ventilation, caulking, thresholds, minor wall, ceiling and floor repairs, window and door replacement, attic insulation, install solar screens, apply solar reflective coating to manufactured homes, and repair or replace water heaters.
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