Low income families in West Virginia have several programs that they can get help with when it comes to paying their heating bills. Some of the primary resources are known as Dollar Energy Fund, Heat Fund, LIHEAP, and the Special Reduced Rate Service Program. Services are focused on residents who have the lowest income and who are faced with some form of financial hardship. Other support is targeted at West Virginia senior citizens and lower income families with children.
The West Virginia Dollar Energy Fund and their Utility Assistance Program can help more low to moderate income residents. For example, people who are not qualified for government assistance (such as LIHEAP) may still be eligible for cash grants for paying their heating bills from the Dollar Energy Fund. All different types of expenses can be paid during the winter months, including oil, propane, natural gas, electric, and even your water bills. Some people who may benefit are those who recently lost a job, or a family with an unexpected yet major expense. Customers need to have made an effort to pay their energy bills in the past and just be faced with a short term financial hardship. (800) 683-7036.
Receive a discount on your heating and energy bill from the West Virginia Special Reduced Rate Service Program. This is offered from all utility companies, including Mon Power and Dominion Hope. This was established by the government and is also commonly called the 20 percent discount program. Qualified households across the state can receive a fairly significant discount on their heating bills, regardless of whether they use natural gas or electricity. The savings can free up income for residents so they will have money for paying for other basic needs.
All of the main electric and gas utilities in the state offer customers a reduced rate on their energy bills, and it can be as much as 20% off. The savings are in effect from December – April, so during the cold winter months. In order to be found eligible, you need to receive Food Stamps, SSI, WV WORKS, or people over 60 years of age can qualify as well. While you will of course experience the savings on your monthly bills, the discount is administered by West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Office of Family Support out of Charleston. So if you have questions on the program or feel you were denied the Special Reduced Rate, then call that government agency at (304) 558-0684.
Many working poor and people faced with poverty receive help during the winter from the LIHEAP - Low Income Energy Assistance Program. This ramps up during the fall months, and provides heating bill assistance to income qualified families across the state, including in cities such as Charleston.
The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) is a federally funded program available to help eligible customers in West Virginia with their home heating bills. If you qualify for this resource, cash payments will be made directly to your energy company, and sometimes this is done in the form of a credit on your account.
A couple other features of this program include assistance for people faced with a crisis, such as they have run out of fuel or maybe their furnace has broken. Emergency aid can be paid out to families across West Virginia to ensure families and individuals are not without heat during the winter. Applicants need to meet income levels, which will also factor in the number of people who live in your household.
Heat Fund is offered in partnership with the Salvation Army and Dominion Hope. The program relies heavily on donations from the community, and money raised is distributed to low income families and senior citizens in West Virginia. This provides assistance for paying natural gas and heating bills. Call the Salvation Army or 1-800-688-4673.
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