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Assistance from the Dollar Energy Fund.

This non-profit organization provides heating as well as general utility bill assistance to tens of thousands of people every year. The Dollar Energy Fund will help households in a number of states, including Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Texas, Kentucky, Arkansas, Maryland, Tennessee, Connecticut, California and Virginia. Get everything from financial help or emergency grants, credits on an account, free heating oil or fuel and more. Find how to apply for Dollar Energy programs below.

Most of the applications are taken directly by utility companies, and the assistance is focused on seniors, people with no money or leaving in poverty, and those that need emergency help. Each state and utility company may have a slightly different name for the Dollar Energy Fund program that is available in their state, but they all have the same goal in mind. That is to help people who are struggling with their energy bills.

Louisiana Neighbor to Neighbor Program

The Dollar Energy Fund is also working with SWEPCO to provide assistance to low income families in their service territory. The grants are first come and served and are for customers that have a balance on their account. Donations from the community are used to fund this Neighbor to Neighbor program in Louisiana. The utility bill assistance program may be able to help those who can’t qualify for any other financial aid. So this can help those Louisiana families that have no other options available to them. More of the money is paid out during the winter months. Call 1-888-216-3523.

Maryland Dollar Energy Fund Hardship Program

Columbia Gas of Maryland customers can get assistance from the Dollar Energy Fund’s. The local service is known as the Maryland Hardship Program. This is the version of the plan that is available for Maryland individuals and families and is also combined with a budgeting service. The hardship program will provide a one-time, free cash grant that will help qualified customers pay their heating and utility bills. There are conditions in order to be eligible. Learn more, including details on the application process, by calling your energy provider. Also, HeatShare is part of the Dollar Energy Fund, and this is mostly for winter heating or gas bills.

Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program

American Electric Power and the Dollar Energy fund have joined together to provide assistance with bills to Ohio families. Most of the support is for low income families in or near poverty or that live on a fixed income. Eligible customers will receive a utility assistance grant applied directly to their AEP bill. The Neighbor to Neighbor Program will help struggling AEP Ohio customers either maintain or restore their electric or heating service by providing a grant that can be used for paying a utility bill. Call 1-800-672-2231.




Pennsylvania Dollar Energy Hardship Program

The Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program offers help for low to moderate income households throughout the state. Almost all gas, electric, water, and light companies are involved. A total of 13 utility and gas companies across Pennsylvania have partnered together to administer the Hardship Program.

To qualify for assistance, households must have made a sincere effort of payment on their utility, water, or heating oil or electric bill in the last 90 days and they must also have a back balance on their account. Eligible customers will receive a one-time free cash grant applied directly to their outstanding bill. For more information, call the utility company or try a community action agency in Pennsylvania.


The Dollar Energy Funds provides assistance for Kentucky American Water customers. The funds will help any low income or struggling family who is behind and facing a disconnection. The goal is to help the family (or individual) keep their water service on. The program is formally known as the H20 – Help to Others Program. Dial 1-800-678-6301 to apply.


The Dollar Energy Fund is available in certain parts of the state and is known as the Cal Water Cares Hardship Program. Currently it only covers water service, and there may be energy financial assistance given to stop a shut off. In addition, the money may also be provided to turn the service back on, or reconnect it.

Any low to moderate income customers of the California Water Service Company can apply for a grant from the Dollar Energy Fund. In order to apply the applicant needs to be in arrears on their account. Up to $200 may be paid out to income qualified households. Call your water company to apply.

Tennessee Neighbor to Neighbor Program

Both Appalachian Power, Kingsport Power and the non-profit Dollar Energy Fund organization have joined together to offer energy bill assistance to those in need. The Tennessee program is called Neighbor to Neighbor, and it will assist low-income, the elderly, and moderate income customers who are having difficulty with paying their electric or heating bills.

Most of the grants or vouchers, including for heating fuel during the winter, are also combined with the Average Monthly Payment Plan (AMP). Customers who are found to be eligible will receive a one time utility bill assistance grant applied directly to their Appalachian Power bill.





Texas Neighbor to Neighbor

This is for AEP-SWEPCO customers. The program can provide income qualified families with a grant or credit that will be applied directly to your utility account. The application process is not as strict as that for some federal government benefits. For example, this may be available to low to moderate income customers who may not be eligible (due to income reasons) for the Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

There are two different phone numbers to call to apply based on where the resident lives, and they include East TX customers (1-888-216-3523) as well as North Texas and/or panhandle customers, and they should dial 1-800-723-7430.

Connecticut Dollar Energy Fund

Cash grants are used to help pay water bills. The money can pay off a balance on the account or the money can pay for the reconnection fees. This is part of the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority Assistance Program. Applicants need to have an income less than 175% of federal government poverty levels. For more information or to apply, dial 203-562-4020.

Arkansas residents

AEP SWEPCO customers, including the working poor, elderly or disabled, can get financial help. The Dollar Energy Fund partners with local non-profits as well as charities to help a small number of families each and every month. A cash grant can help a struggling household pay the balance on their account or restore their utility service. Dial 1-888-216-3523 for applications or more information.

Virginia Neighbor to Neighbor Program

Almost every single utility and water company is part of the Dollar Energy Fund program. If you are a struggling customer, you may be able to get cash grants, free weatherization and financial aid from the Dollar Energy Fund. A total of 10 different electric, gas, and water companies participate.

The Neighbor to Neighbor Program provides a cash grant directly to your utility account. The customer needs to have received a disconnect notice (in arrears) and also they have had to paid their bill in the recent past. In order for Virginia customers to be eligible for help, the customer must have paid at least $100 towards their heating, gas, water and/or electric utility bill in the 90 days prior to applying for the Dollar Energy Fund Neighbor to Neighbor Program. For more information, contact a Virginia community action agency.

West Virginia Utility Assistance Program

This program can also help people with a water, heating, or utility bill. Applicants need to call their local Salvation Army and make an appointment to fill out a Dollar Energy form. Allegheny Power, West Virginian-American Water, Dominion Hope, People’s, Equitable Gas, Appalachian Power Company, Dominion Energy West Virginia and Mountaineer Gas all participate in the Dollar Energy Fund. So there is financial help for almost the entire state, including vouchers for heating oil.





Applicants need to bring their termination notice, and the unpaid bill should be for $100 or more. People who apply to the West Virginia Utility Assistance Program must have shown that they were paying their bill in the recent past. Each company processes applications on their own. Therefore call the customer service department at the utility company to apply.

Contact information and apply to Dollar Energy Fund

Find more information on the program for your state above. Or apply at your local community action agency, or contact your utility or gas company directly. Or individuals can dial 1-888-282-6816 or (800) 683-7036 for more details, including information on how to make a donation.


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By Jon McNamara

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