Empire District low income assistance programs.
Many of the resources provided by Empire District are done in partnership with non-profit agencies from Missouri, Arkansas, and other states. However the energy company does administer several of its own payment plans, financial assistance programs, and conservation measures for low income families.
One of the main services is Project Help. This relies on donations and contributions from people in the community and local businesses. The funds that are donated will be provided to the less fortunate for paying their electricity bills. It is a way for neighbors to help their neighbors. Anything you contribute will be tax deductible as well.
Giving people the ability to help others is something that many people want to have. This is an emergency assistance program that was created in an effort to resolve a crisis. It can pay for the energy-related expenses of the elderly and/or disabled residents in Missouri and other service territories. For many of those people who are enrolled into Project Help, protection against extreme cold or heat can be matter of life or death. For example, seniors losing their heat during the winter is a serious issue. Or even not having the ability to stay cool during the summer is also very serious.
In order to be qualified for assistance from Project Help, all applicants must be be 55 years of age or older, of course a customer of Empire District Electric, or a customer can also be disabled to the extent that they cannot be economically self-sufficient. Applicants need to have explored other options too, such as LIHEAP, and have no other resource available to them. The non-profit Economic Security Corporation verifies each applicant's eligibility for waste or fraud.
The program has run for over 20 years. Project Help is a joint effort of the Economic Security Corporation as well as Empire District Electric Company. Helping neighbors is a tradition in these states.
The non-profit partner agency, the Economic Security Corporation, will determine when emergency needs exist from customers. They will administer the use of Project HELP funds and any other government grants to meet those needs. It is short term aid and not for long term assistance.
Call 866-923-2483 or 417-781-0352 to apply. If you are found to not be eligible then a case worker may direct you to other options, such as the federal government funded LIHEAP program, which operates nationwide.
Seniors in Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri can benefit from the E.A.S.E program, or Empire's Action to Support the Elderly. This was created in an effort to lift the burden of worrying about utility bills from the elderly (age 60 and older) who live in the Empire District service area. Handicapped may also benefit from this program.
While the terms of EASE can change, for those older customers who qualify for the program, their due dates on their bills may be adjusted, late penalties are waived, reconnection deposits waived, and more. If it is requested, third party notification is available to participants when an account becomes delinquent. Many seniors are able to keep their electricity on as a result of EASE.
The Experimental Low-Income Program, or ELIP, provides financial assistance and cash grants for energy-related expenses for customers who qualify. This is a very limited assistance program for only certain parts of Missouri. Call the Community Action Agency at 660-826-0804. Basically this was created in an effort to offer some relief with natural gas bills. It may offer discounts and more.
Call Empire District at 800-206-2300 for details on these and other programs.