Residents of Ohio have access to several assistance programs that can help people pay their utility, heating, and electric bills. People can contact non-profits, charities, or the utility companies themselves to learn about and get financial assistance and cash grants to pay their bills. The state of Ohio also has some regulations and requirements to help prevent customers from being disconnected during the wintertime.
An extensive listing of assistance programs and Ohio organizations are listed below. To find additional resources, or if your energy company is not listed, then click here for other utility and heating bill programs.
Ohio state wide programs – The PIPP Plus assistance program is offered by the state of Ohio and it is for all families and individuals in the state, regardless of their utility or gas company. This rule in effect states that Ohio’s regulated gas and electric utilities are mandated to participate in the statewide PIPP assistance program. There are several different components to this program, including the following.
Low-income and so called customers who heat with natural gas for their primary heating source will pay 6 percent of their monthly income or $10 (whichever is greater) to their electric or gas company. If you are a customer who lives in an all-electric home you will pay $10 or 10 percent of their gross monthly household income each month, whichever is greater. If your income is zero dollars, zero-income customers will be required to pay only a $10 minimum monthly payment for both their natural gas and electric bills.
One of the benefits of this Ohio assistance program is that when PIPP Plus payments are made on time and in full by the customer, then those customers earn an incentive credit and an arrearage credit on their current utility bill. Each time the customer pays their required monthly payment on time and in full, they no longer owe the rest of that month's billed amount.
In addition, by making the payment the customer will also receive a one-twenty-fourth credit toward any old debt or arrearage on their utility bill. If they make full, on-time payments for 24 months straight, all of the arrearages or unpaid debts would be eliminated. Dial 1-800-282-0880 to learn more about the PIPP Plus program. You can also contact your local community action agency.
Ohio Energy Credit (OEC) Program – This is for state residents who are 65 years of age or older, who are totally and permanently disabled, and this will allow those customers to receive an increased Energy Assistance benefit beyond what they would receive under the federal government HEAP energy assistance program. For more information or to apply for this service, call the Ohio Department of Development toll-free at 1-800-282-0880.
State of Ohio Winter Reconnect Program – This particular assistance program allows most households across the state that have either been disconnected or who may be threatened with disconnection of their heating or utility service due to non-payment of an utility bill to have their heating service restored during the winter months by paying either the total amount they owe on their outstanding bill or $175, whichever is less. The customer will also need to pay a reconnection fee of no more than $20 on their account. One of the best benefits of this program is that there are no income eligibility requirements for the winter reconnect program and all state residents can take advantage of the program. Low to moderate income-eligible households can also use funds from the Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program (E-HEAP) funds for the $175 payment. To learn more or to apply for help, residents can decide to apply for the winter reconnect program either in person at a local community action agency in their town or county, or they can call their utility company directly and refer to the program.
The Electric Partnership Program (EPP) is offered across the state to qualified households. The primary goal of this energy conserving program is to reduce electric consumption by households that participate in the state's Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP). This will in effect allow them to save money on their utility and heating bills. The energy conservation program is targeted to high consumption, high arrears PIPP households and is composed of two types of main components. The first is a weatherization assistance program that is partly funded by the federal government and it is for those customers who heat with electricity and who have moderate to high usage. This program adds free or low cost insulation to the home, performs heating system inspections and addresses health & safety measures of the household. The second service is a base load efficiency program which audits energy usage of the homeowners lighting, appliances and all other uses of electricity not related to heating and installs appropriate energy saving measures to the home. Contact your local community action agency.
American Electric Power – A financial assistance program known as the Neighbor to Neighbor Program is offered. Both Dollar Energy Fund and AEP Ohio have teamed up to assist unemployed, low-income and working poor AEP Ohio customers who have difficulty paying their electric bill. If you are determined to be found to be qualified for help you may be able to receive a utility bill assistance grant applied directly to their AEP Ohio bill. Call AEP at 1-800-277-2177
American Electric Power – The Crisis Response Fund offers gas and electric bill assistance and weatherization for AEP customers. AEP Ohio customers can learn about the program and whether they are eligible for the utility assistance program by contacting their local community action agency. Another option for interest customers is to call the Ohio Department of Development's Home Energy Assistance Program at 1-800-282-0880. Get more information on assistance programs from AEP.
Columbia Gas – A program known as the Auction Fuel Fund may be able to provide up to $250 per winter heating season. The heating bill assistance program is known as a fund of last resort for individuals and families who have exhausted all other available emergency financial assistance programs. Wood, Seneca, Ottawa and Sandusky counties: WSOS Community Action Commission Inc., 419-334-8911. Lucas County: Economic Opportunity Planning Association of Greater Toledo Inc. (EOPA), 866-504-7392. Columbia Customer Contact Center, 1-800-344-4077
Columbia Gas - Another option for customers is known as the Utility Fuel Fund. This assistance fund offers a one-time utility and heating assistance payment of up to $250 per heating season to help families and individuals maintain or restore their heating and electric service. Customers of the program do not need to be disconnected or who may be facing disconnection will be able to qualify for help. Households that are between 175 and 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level qualify for this utility assistance fund. Numbers to call for help include Columbia Customer Contact Center, 1-800-344-4077, Lucas County: Economic Opportunity Planning Association of Greater Toledo Inc. (EOPA), 866-504-7392, Wood, Seneca, Ottawa and Sandusky counties: WSOS Community Action Commission Inc., 419-334-8911
Columbia Gas - Warm Choice is a weatherization program which can include measures such as extra floor and window insulation, air sealing and high-efficiency furnaces To apply or learn more dial 1-800-952-3037 to be directed to your local weatherization provider.
Columbia Gas - Winter Crisis Fuel Fund is another resource that is a fund of last resort. It can provide up to $175 to families and individuals who are either currently disconnected or who may be threatened with disconnection of their utility or heating service. Wood, Seneca, Ottawa and Sandusky counties: WSOS Community Action Commission Inc., 419-334-8911. Lucas County: Economic Opportunity Planning Association of Greater Toledo Inc. (EOPA), 866-504-7392. Columbia Customer Contact Center, 1-800-344-4077
Columbia Gas - Heatshare is a program that is funded by shareholder and customer donations. It is an energy bill assistance this fund that will help low-income customers who have nowhere else to turn for energy or heating assistance. To apply for HeatShare, contact your local chapter of The Salvation Army in Ohio or please call 1-800-344-4077.
Columbia Gas - In addition to those resources offered, the energy company offers low income customers in Ohio additional resources and information. Examples of other programs offered include LIHEAP, payment plans and weatherization. Read more Columbia Gas Ohio assistance programs.
Consolidated Electric Cooperative – Their program is known as The People Fund. It is a community service assistance program that responds to the needs of the low income individuals in the community that aren't met through other charities, non-profit agencies and organizations. The program is funded mainly by customer donations as well as money from local businesses. Call 419-947-3055, 740-363-2541 or 1-800-421-5863
Dayton Power & Light, which can be reached at 1-800-433-8500, offers its customers a couple programs. One of them is the Percentage of Income Payment Plan Credit Program. This slightly differs from the state program in that it is for customers who have already been on the PIPP program for one year and have more than 12 months PIPP in arrears on their bills, they may be eligible for PIPP credits. The amount of the credit provided to the customer will be based on the total 12 months arrears. This credit is applied to the outstanding balance on the unpaid debts and not to the current installment. Another component is Fresh Start, which is a debt and arrearage-crediting program for customers no longer on PIPP. Find additional Dayton Power assistance programs.
Disconnection prevention and legal issues can be addressed by Ohio Consumers’ Counsel. This state government agency can advice consumers on their rights when it comes to the shut off of their heat, electricity, or even phone service. Staff will also ensure that residents are treated properly by their energy company and are not harassed or overcharged when it comes to their bills or reconnection fees. Also get details on government programs such as the Winter Reconnect Order. Continue Ohio Consumers’ Counsel services.
Dominion East Ohio – Offers an energy conservation program known as the Housewarming Program. This resource provides government weatherization assistance to help eligible low income customers, individuals and their families reduce their heating and energy bills and usage. The energy conservation program provides, among other improvements, free weather-stripping, floor, attic and sidewall insulation, door sweeps and other insulation devices. For more information or to apply call 1-888-377-3774.
Dominion East Ohio – The service is known as EnergyShare and it is sponsored by Dominion East Ohio. The EnergyShare assistance program is designed to help needy families and individuals pay any type of winter heating bill, such as home oil, natural gas, wood, oil, kerosene or electricity. Contact your local Salvation Army office to apply or to get more information, or a customer can call 1-800-362-7557. Or click here for additional assistance programs for Dominion East Ohio low income customers.
Duke Energy - The financial assistance program known as HeatShare was created to assist those low to moderate income people who are in need with paying heating bills during the winter season. In order to qualify for aid an applicant must be subject to disconnection of service in order to qualify. In addition, qualified customers may apply for a one-time annual financial assistance beginning mid-January through May or until funds are depleted. For additional information or to apply for assistance for Duke Energy, you need to contact the Salvation Army at 513-721-0795 after the program begins in mid-January.
Duke Energy - They also administer the Ohio Electric Residential Low Income Pilot Program, which will provides financial assistance to low-income electric customers by making lower utility and electric rates available to qualified customers. This is for those Ohio customers who are at or below 200% of the federal government poverty guideline and are not enrolled in the PIPP are eligible for the program. An application for the program is also being made available on Duke Energy's website. Other ways to apply include calling Duke Energy at (800) 544-6900. Or of course stop by your local community action agency.
Duke Energy – Low income, elderly and other qualified customers may be able to receive a furnace or heat pump, energy-efficient light bulbs, and an extensive listing of energy-saving tips and if needed, , weather stripping , a hot water heater wrap and pipe wrap. In addition, depending on the condition of the applicant’s home and its energy usage, other services offered from the weatherization type program may include wall and attic insulation, duct sealing and other air leakage sealing measures. For additional information or to apply for the Duke Program, call People Working Cooperatively at 513-351-7921.
Duke Energy – This power company runs the Ohio Gas Residential Low Income Pilot Program. This will help customers in Ohio save money on the cost of natural gas service. This is for low income and other customers, and people who are at or below 175% of the federal government poverty guideline, are not enrolled in the PIPP and who use less than 900 ccf of natural gas annually are eligible for the assistance program. Those Duke Energy customers who have been part of the Home Energy Assistance Program in the past year have been automatically enrolled in the pilot program. Other customers who are eligible can enroll by either stopping by their local community action agency, or they may decide to call Duke Energy at (513) 421-9500.
Those are just some of the financial assistance programs offered by Duke. Every year tens of thousands of families receive help from the energy company for paying their bills. Read more assistance programs from Duke Energy.
Firelands Electric – The program they run is known as Operation Round Up. Individuals and organizations may be able to get financial assistance. Call 419-929-1571 or 1-800-533-8658
Guernsey-Muskingum Electric Cooperative administers the Operation Helping Others heating and energy bill program. Customer donations may be used to assist individuals and family members. Call Zanesville 740-454-0770 or 1-800-521-9879, Cambridge 740-432-4167, New Concord 740-826-7661
Government assistance from low income Home Energy Assistance, or HEAP. The federal government provides Ohio with funds as part of the LIHEAP program. Qualified unemployed, very low income families, senior citizens, and the disabled can then receive financial assistance, and funds go to individuals to help them pay their heating bills. Money can also be used for energy conservation services. More information.
HeatShare - This is an assistance program that is paid for by donations from the community. The Salvation Army administers it across Ohio, and the program is mainly for Duke Energy and Columbia Gas customers. However some other utility or electric companies may also participate in HeatShare or a similar offering. Click more information.
Illuminating Company - This company, which is owned by First Energy, offers its customers several different payment plans, financial assistance programs and other resources. Customer service representatives can refer individuals to government programs such as Ohio HEAP. Some of their other more common solutions for those customers facing a hardship include payment extensions and installment plans. More details on Illuminating Company assistance programs.
Logan County Cooperative – The assistance program known as Operation Round Up may be able to provide heating and utility help for food banks, health and rescue organizations, educational projects, low income, child care programs, and individuals with special needs. Call 937-592-4781
Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Cooperative – The assistance program known as the People Fund can help the disabled, elderly, low income, unemployed, and working poor. Call at 440-647-2133
North Central Electric Cooperative – The People Fund is also run by the utility company. Individuals with special needs, low income and others struggling may be able to get a grant. For more information on this assistance program, contact the cooperative’s Member Services Department at 419-426-3072.
Ohio Edison - Project Reach is a program that provides once-a-year emergency financial assistance to the unemployed, disabled, or low-income customers in the community who might lose electric service because of overdue utility or energy bills. Call 1-800-633-4766 or your local Salvation Army as the Salvation Army determines eligibility and also administers the program to people who need help.
In addition to Project Reach, Ohio Edison administers several other financial assistance, grant and hardship programs. They want to prevent disconnections, and to help as many people as possible. Click here to find additional programs from Ohio Edison.
Ohio Gas - Customers of this provider have some different assistance programs offered to them. Most of them are government supported resources such as the Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus or LIHEAP. However certain qualified low income families may have the ability to sign up for payment plans. More on assistance programs from Ohio Gas.
Programs for heating bills - Several state laws in Ohio, non-profit organizations, and resources are focused on paying heating bills and preventing disconnections during the winter months. Many families can have their health threatened if their heat is shut off, and these programs can help ensure that doesn’t occur. Read more.
Suburban Natural Gas - If you are struggling with paying your utility or heating bills, then call to learn about any resources that may be available. A focus is on assigning low income families with a young child or senior members of the household. Get information on financial and government assistance. More information.
The Illuminating Company, which can be reached at 216-861-8185, administers the Community Outreach Opportunity Program (CO-OP). This program provides once-a-year cash grants or emergency financial assistance to the unemployed, disabled, or low-income customers or individuals who might lose electric service because of overdue heating or energy bills. The Salvation Army determines eligibility and administers this assistance program as well as others.
Toledo Edison – A program known as Neighbors Helping Neighbors may be able to provide once-a-year financial assistance or emergency cash grants to disabled, unemployed or low-income customers in Ohio who might lose electric service because of overdue heating or energy bills. The Salvation Army determines eligibility and who may be able to get help and administers the program. For more information, contact the Toledo Salvation Army at 419-241-3549 or to apply for help.
Toledo Edison customers facing a disconnection or that are struggling can explore other financial and emergency assistance programs. Payment plans, deferred programs, and LIHEAP cash grants are just a few of the resources available for families in Ohio. Continue with financial assistance from Toledo Edison.
Vectren – Eligible households may be able to qualify for TEEM. This will provide them with energy conservation measures in their home at no cost to the applicant. Improvements, such as upgrading insulation, adding caulking, or installing a new natural gas furnace, are made by a team of energy efficiency professionals from the local non-profit organization Community Action Partnership of the Greater Dayton Area. Get more details, or call 1-800-617-2673 to see if you qualify.