Get help in North Carolina with paying your utility bills and saving money. The two main programs are the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIEAP, as well as weatherization. Both of them are paid for by the federal government. The two resources are often combined and offered as a package in order to provide the most benefit to qualified low income families and seniors.
The state fully understands that it is important to provide energy bill assistance and conservation programs to people who are struggling. It is especially critical for those who are most at risk if their power is disconnected, such as the elderly, families with young children, and the disabled. The reason being is that those people may be at risk for a life threatening death or illness if their home is too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter.
There are two main components of the North Carolina Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP). A onetime payment can be made for paying regular utility bills, and there is also a Crisis Intervention Program. Assistance can help eligible households pay a portion of their air conditioning and/or heating bills. Funds are paid out on a first come, first serve basis, and LIEAP operates until all funds are used up.
Initially, only households containing a senior citizen (someone over the age of 60) or disabled member can apply for help, and this usually starts around November. Stop by or call your Division of Aging and Adult Services office or community action agency. After that group applies, any other qualified low income household can be served. Individuals need to be a US citizen, meet low income levels, be responsible for paying bills, and there may be other conditions.
The Crisis Intervention Program is part of LIEAP, and it may be able to assist those with an emergency, such as an upcoming disconnection or if they run out of fuel. The main goal of the North Carolina CIP component of the program is to help families stay cool in the summer or warm in the winter. So grants are paid out, as by addressing these emergencies it can potentially reduce the risk of safety and health problems that people may be faced with if their utilities are shut off. Some residents may be at risk for a life threatening illness or even death if home or apartment is too cold in the winter, or too hot.
Individuals can apply for assistance from CIP more than once per year. Any benefits paid out may vary based upon the amount needed to alleviate the emergency. Generally at most $600 can be provided per year, and all payments are made directly to the utility company in North Carolina.
The Weatherization Assistance Program in North Carolina can help low-income families save money on their energy bills. It can pay for household safety, energy efficiency measures, and education workshops for the public. Like most government programs, it focuses on families with children, the elderly, the disabled, and historically high energy users. Weatherization can help people stay cool in the summer or warm in the winter.
Free energy conservation updates are available for single-family homes, condominiums, mobile homes, and even apartments. Renters can apply as well, as you do not need to own your own home to be eligible, however renters must have an agreement in place with their landlord.
Weatherization will pay for home improvements for low-income citizens. All updates made need to help people save energy and reduce expenses. It works by installing energy conservation materials and measures in people’s homes. In past years families that took part in the program saved around $200 per year on their home heating and cooling bills. It also created a safe, comfortable, and energy efficient home environment for families served.
Improvements and audits include testing for gas leaks, carbon monoxide, and other health and safety issues. Contractors will tune, replace, or repair heating (furnaces) and air conditioning equipment if needed. Also, clients can gain from the benefit from the sealing of air infiltration sites; installing attic, wall and floor insulation; and sealing leaky ducts. Also compact fluorescent lights and water heat wrap, pipe insulation, low flow shower heads can be installed as part of weatherization.
The community action agency and the North Carolina Division of Department of Social Services can help people apply for both weatherization and LIEAP. Call (800) 662-7131. Be sure to have your documentation in order, including proof of income.
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