Residents of the Providence area, as well as across all of Rhode Island, can receive assistance with paying their heating and gas bills during the winter. There are programs offered by community action agencies and non-profits as well as government aid. Some energy companies also offer limited amounts of financial help to those who qualify.
Many families receive assistance from the Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund. It is available across the state and city of Providence, and applications and funds are disbursed by the Salvation Army. This program can help even those who would not otherwise qualify for government assistance and is focused on family’s who are faced with a crisis or emergency that was not caused by them. Grants can be paid out for heating bills, oil, or another fuel source. 401-490-0240
Free energy efficiency is available from the Weatherization Assistance Program. Low income households may be able to save money on their heating bills as the result of improvements that can be made to their home. Your local community action agency will process applications and coordinate the work with contractors.
Free heating oil may be offered as part of the JOE-4-OIL program. Citgo Petroleum as well as Citizens Energy Oil Heat Program work together, and sometimes with other non-profits in Providence, to provide struggling families with financial assistance in the form of oil and fuel. Qualified families can usually receive up to 100 gallons during the winter. Dial 1-877-563-4645,
The Rhode Island LIHEAP Heating Bill Assistance is available from November to March for low income families and it is generally targeted at those whose income is 60% of the states and/or the city of Providence average. If you qualify, the federal government, in partnership with your local community action agency, will make direct cash payments on your behalf to your utility company/heating provider such as National Grid. Money can also pay bills if your service was disconnected or if you have run out of fuel or oil.
Sometimes people do not qualify for non-profit assistance, Salvation Army programs, or government aid. However you still can save money on buying your heating fuel from an oil Co-op or bulk buying network.These Providence based organizations, such as People's Power and Light, can save their members money on their oil as they use the group bulk buying approach. This is similar to a Costco or Sam’s Club, but is for heating oil. Click more oil buying networks.
If your heating system or furnace breaks down, or is not efficient, then the Rhode Island Repair Program may provide individuals the ability to increase the heating system efficiency. Your system may be tuned up or fixed, or if it is beyond repair than it could even be totally replaced. Call your local community action agency.
Keep the Heat On is available from churches, Catholic Charities, and the Archdiocese of Providence. These charity organizations sponsor the so called Keep the Heat On Challenge. Financial assistance during the winter is available for individuals and families that have used up all other government aid or private resources. If you have no other places to turn to or assistance programs available to you, then the Keep the Heat On program may be able to help you pay your heating bills. Dial 401-421-7833.
Budget Payment Plans are offered by many energy and utility companies. While these won’t really help you pay your bills by providing you with cash, it will help people indirectly by budgeting and spreading their costs. For example, you can enter into a payment plan that will in effect spread your high winter heating bills over the entire year.
To apply for government heating assistance or to get referrals, call your local community action agency. The East Bay Community Action Program is in Riverside and can be reached at (401) 437-0006. Other places to call include the Providence Community Action (ProCAP) (phone (401) 273-0882) as well as Blackstone Valley Community Action in Pawtucket (401) 723-4520. Several other agencies operate in the state as well.
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