Help for heating bills in New York State.

Residents across New York State have access to a number of assistance programs for paying their heating bills. Resources are offered in all parts of the state, including Buffalo, Rochester, Long Island, upstate and the greater NYC region. Examples of the programs available include government aid as well as energy programs that are offered directly by heating and natural gas companies.

The HEAP program offers a regular benefit to clients living in poverty as well as the working poor. The funds can be used to pay winter heating bills and energy costs, and the money flows to low income New York state residents. The application period will normally start in October or November of each year.

Some of the key conditions of the program are based on the applicant’s income, their primary heating source, household size, and whether the home has a young child or senior living there. There may also be grants from HEAP for the disabled in New York, and this money will also help them with their heating costs. Dial 1-800-342-3009 for details.

While the exact amount paid out will vary, in general an eligible household may receive one regular HEAP benefit per program year. In addition to that, some companies such as New York State Electricity and Gas may provide you a credit on your monthly heating bill.

The Salvation Army offers a number of programs that can help pay winter gas, electricity, and heating bills. Some of the main resources are Project Share, Care and Share, and Neighbor for Neighbor Heat. The non-profit partners with energy companies such as National Grid and Rochester Gas and Electric on these. Other utility companies will also participate. Depending on where you live, such as in Buffalo or Albany or another town, the programs may vary slightly.

These programs are often paid for by charities, non-profit foundations, customers, employees of the companies, and donations. Some of what can be offered includes repairs to heating equipment, direct financial assistance for a past due bill, water heater replacements, and home weatherization. For example, employees who work for companies such as Long Island Power Authority will donate to it. Call your local Salvation Army center.





Emergency cash assistance is offered from the crisis HEAP benefit. This will help New York state families who are faced with an emergency, such as they are running out of fuel, have a shut off, or are dealing with a broken furnace. This is normally available in January of each year, and it is run by your local social services office. The income limits are enforced, and staff from locations in all cities such as Syracuse and Westchester can provide for information.

Some of the main beneficiaries are those whose natural gas or electricity is currently off or scheduled to be shut-off. People who are out of heating oil or fuel may qualify for emergency aid as well. It can pay for bills from all energy providers, including New York State Electricity and Gas as well as National Grid. It can also provide for propane, kerosene, fuel oil, wood, or other fuel types.

Almost all energy and gas providers in New York offer EmPower New YorkSM. This will provide families with cost-effective electric reduction measures. It is effective as it can help people save money on their utility and annual heating bills. Some focus is on lighting and refrigerator replacements, as well as other cost-effective home performance strategies such as caulking, insulation, and other health and safety measures.

Project Warmth is another emergency assistance program offered by some gas companies. It can help lower income individuals and families with energy emergencies. Grants will be issued and they can be used to pay for any fuel source such as natural gas, heating oil, or electricity.

Heating Equipment Replacement or Repair can be provided by the government as well as energy companies including NYSEG. It can help qualified low-income homeowners as well as tenants across the state repair or replace the primary heating equipment. The focus is on helping with the repairs for items that are necessary to keep the home’s primary heating source functional and working. Applications are usually accepted at the same time as HEAP.





No matter who your gas or heating provider is, or the type of equipment you use (furnace, boiler, stove) the Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement Component may be able to assist. The amount paid out will be based on the actual cost to replace or repair the household’s boiler, furnace, or other essential heating equipment. In general up to $6500 will be paid out, as funding allows. Phone 1-800-342-3009.

Companies such as Consolidated Edison and National Grid offer an Energy Assistance Program (EAP), and there are two main parts of it. The first is the EAP Basic Benefit, which offers a monthly credit on your heating bill. Many families in the New York City area benefit from this service. The second is the EAP Limited Benefit, which can forgive or eliminate past due bills on your account. It is usually offered at the same time as HEAP.




By Jon McNamara

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