Government assistance can be obtained for paying your heating bills in Utah from the H.E.A.T. program, also known as Home Energy Assistance Target. This resource is funded by the federal government, but is administered in the state by the Division of Housing and Community Development and is often offered in combination with weatherization services.
These are the two primary energy assistance programs in Utah, and they usually target those who are truly vulnerable to some type of heating emergency, such as low income households with a member who is the disabled, a senior citizen, and aid is often prioritized for families with preschool-age children.
The Utah Home Energy Assistance Target program is very similar to the federal government LIHEAP low income program. It can distribute grants for paying utilities and heating costs to qualified low-income and struggling households. Its main purpose is to help eligible households meet the rising costs of home energy and fuel costs. While there are eligibility requirements, applicants do not need to be receiving any other public benefits in order to qualify for HEAT.
When applying, you will need to have prepared a number of documents. This can include some or all of the following. Social Security cards for you and all other persons in your household. You will need to bring your Driver’s License or State of Utah ID. Proof of income for all household members needs to be provided as well. Also bring a copy of your most recent utility or heating bills from each utility company or fuel vendor you have, and also a copy of the disconnect notice if you have one.
While the HEAT program is mostly paid for by federal funds and the LIHEAP program (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program), it is administered by the Utah State Energy Assistance and Lifeline (SEAL) Office and run locally by community action agencies.
Normally, residents who are enrolled in the Utah H.E.A.T. program are automatically enrolled in weatherization as well, which is the main energy conservation resource for low income families. This is another federal government resource that assists low-income families with saving money on their heating and energy bills.
Completed homes normally save about 30% on their monthly bills, which equates to about $300 per year in total reduction in home energy costs. Weatherization updates can be performed on any home, and this includes mobile homes, multiplexes, apartments, condos and private homes. Both renters and homeowners are eligible.
Community action agencies across Utah administer the service in your local county. They provide free weatherization services to qualified low income, elderly, and disabled households. The objective is to make improvements to homes, and the goal is to make them more energy efficient as well as ensure they are safe to live in. Priority is also given households with emergency situations and high-energy consumption as a percentage of their income.
Some of the free improvements that can be provided include wall, floor, perimeter, and attic insulation. Heating system issues, including furnaces, can be fixed or replaced too. Weatherization can provide for the replacement of existing low efficiency appliances, furnaces or the tuning of them. Broken windows are repaired, or if the situation warrants, replaced at no cost. Contractors will also provide air sealing which includes adding door sweeps, weatherstripping doors, and caulking in areas where heat or conditioned air can leave the home. Also compact fluorescent lights (CFL bulbs) are installed and refrigerators can be replaced if they are not energy efficient.
The Utah Division of Housing and Community Development administers both the HEAT and weatherization program statewide. They work with local community action agencies and non-profit organizations. The eligibility for both programs is similar, and families are often signed up for both of them. Any type of heating bill assistance or other benefits are provided in the form of grants to eligible households or their energy providers.
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