Help from a utility company.
Find how to get help with paying bills or reducing energy usage from a utility company. Almost all electric, gas, light and energy companies provide assistance to their low-income customers, senior citizens, or people facing a financial hardship. Learn how to apply for forgiveness of a utility bill, enter into a payment plan, or get help paying a deposit or preventing a disconnection. Locate utility company assistance programs by state below that help low-income families.
Utility companies offer help before shutting off the power. There is support for low income families, seniors, disabled, the unemployed and struggling customers. They can enter into various energy bill assistance programs in an effort to help them prevent a disconnection. These resources are offered directly by the company to households that live in their service territory, including your provider. Programs near you, listed by state below, can assist the customer with either paying or saving money on their monthly energy bills.
Help with electric, gas, light, energy bills or deposits from your utility company
The type of resources available vary by state, utility company, funding levels, and what is offered can even change based on the season. Examples of what may be offered to customers include the following.
- The companies will provide direct financial assistance to pay a bill or applications to government benefits such as LIHEAP.
- Many utility companies offer some form of payment plan or give extra time to their customers. The utility company will provide the customer additional time to catch on on any bills that are past due and/or make partial payments.
- Financial assistance from a utility provider will come in the form of credits, emergency financial help or grants to help customers pay their energy, heating, or cooling bills. This includes free grant money from the federal government or state.
- Or certain utility company programs will help low income households save money on their utilities through such services as weatherization, free energy audits or any number of other conservation resources.
Some utility companies will have local non-profit organizations process applications and administer the funds to those who need help. Other providers partner with government agencies, and yet other companies will provide the heating and energy bill assistance directly to customer who apply for support. Some energy companies provide additional energy assistance to lower income senior citizens or the disabled, or maybe even single moms or dads. There are many different options available to struggling customers, no matter where they get their electric, gas, or heating service from.
A utility company will also try to ensure that all energy programs are explored for the most vulnerable, such as the elderly or customer’s with a medical condition. In addition to those, many electric, natural gas and utility companies will also support national and federal government programs.
The customer service teams can provide applications for those offerings. They will try to assist as many people and families as possible with either paying their monthly energy bills or offer them more time to find a solution other then a disconnection.
Many companies also have limited resources. It is expensive for them to both turn off service and also potentially reconnect a customer’s utilities at a later day. So most will try to offer as many grants and financial assistance programs as possible. Payment plans or some form of utility bill abatement are also commonly provided.
As a last resort, customers can also get referred to other non-profits, government programs, and services that they may eligible for, including low income energy programs focused on senior citizens or disabled people. Depending on the utility service provider and the applicant’s qualifications, apply for weatherization, grant programs, or emergency financial aid. Or learn how to get credits or discounts on utility bills, free home energy audits, and many other options.
Free energy conservation from a utility company
Most electric and gas companies provide energy conservation programs to customers, no matter their income. Everything from home repairs to windows, caulking, energy audits, insulation and other stuff may be provided by an energy company.
Weatherization – This is a federal government funded program that provides qualified low income, elderly, and disabled customers with free energy saving enhancements to their homes. What may be done includes, but is not limited too, adding insulation, programmable thermostats, windows, and caulking. Find details on weatherization services from the USDOE.
- Energy company window replacement services - Many utility companies try to help low-income families conserve energy by offering grants, or the free replacement, of a window. As a significant amount of heat, AC, and energy is wasted from old or inefficient windows. Learn more on replace windows for free.
Free inspection / energy audits from energy company - Most major utility companies provide some version of this to their customers, no matter the households income. They work with customers to help them save money, take pressure off the utility grid, and even give households free items for reducing power usage. More on free energy audits from utility companies.
Energy efficient air conditioners - In general, a free AC unit (often a window system) is offered to a senior or person with a disability. A number of utility companies partner with charities and non-profits on these programs. Locate free air conditioning near you.
Utility bill relief or forgiveness - Many electric, gas, and energy companies will forgive a bill when a customer is facing a crisis. This option may be offered to someone who is fact, recovering from a natural disaster, or certain low-income families. Learn more how to get utility bills forgiven.
National energy assistance programs supported by utility companies
There are also resources available that are considered to be more nationally based assistance programs. Almost all energy, gas or electric companies will help people apply for them or direct customers to agencies that administer the services.
Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) - Another federal funded program that people can turn to for financial assistance or cash grants. There are two components. One is money for paying regular monthly utility bills, with a focus on helping with heating bills. Read more on this LIHEAP grant program.
- When faced with an imminent shut off of energy or electric service, the federal government funded and created LIHEAP also offers a crisis assistance program. This part of LIHEAP will help someone facing a disconnection. This has a streamlined application process, so a decision is made in less time. To those that qualify, it provides cash grants or fuel in an emergency. More on crisis assistance program.
Disconnection laws – Sadly many families do face disconnection, even after getting some form of financial help or payment arrangement from their utility company. Luckily most states have rules and regulations in place to protect customers, in particular the disabled, elderly or families with young children. Learn about state government utility disconnection laws.
Low cost, high speed Internet service - Some cable providers or utility companies, such as Comcast, provide assistance to low income families with children as well as single mothers. The access can help lower a household’s bill to a fraction of the cost of their usual access, and in some cases a computer is provided to them as well. Continue with low cost Internet access.
Free heating oil – Some non-profit organizations provide a limited amount of free heating oil to customers in the Midwest and Northeast. This is often done in partnership with utility and gas companies and is offered during the fall, winter, and spring months. Read more free heating oil.
- Heating oil buying networks - While not an assistance program, people can save a substantial amount of money by buying their heating oil in bulk fashion. A number of companies, including energy or natural gas, offer these solutions during the fall and winter. Learn more on heating oil buying networks.
Utility, energy and heating company assistance programs near you by state
A list of utility companies is listed for each state. There are natural gas providers, electric companies, and other providers listed as well that provide help to their low income customers. The type of assistance they may offer to their customers, including a senior or single mom, as part of their energy bill assistance programs will vary by provider.
District of Columbia
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