Help with heating bills in Connecticut.

Some of the main programs in Connecticut include the Winter Heating Assistance Program, Project Warm-up, and Operation Fuel. Low income residents, seniors, the unemployed and working poor can also look into federal government assistance from the LIHEAP Energy Bill Assistance Program. Tens of thousands of families in Connecticut benefit from one or more of these programs every year.

The Contingency Heating Assistance Program can help both renters and homeowners in Connecticut. During the late fall, winter, and through the early Spring months this program, also called CHAP, pays for such heating fuel sources as propane, natural gas, electricity, oil, coal, wood, and kerosene.

While the Connecticut Department of Social Services runs the CHAP program at the state level, your local community action agency accepts and processes applications. They also work closely with non-profit human and social service agencies, such as Catholic Charities or the Salvation Army.

The United Way also partners with regional non-profit agencies in order to offer a program called Project Warm-up. The fact is that many people have an income that is slightly too high and can’t qualify for government or public aid. This service was created to assist this more moderate income group.

However while these people may not meet public aid guidelines, their income is still too low and they can’t keep up with all of their expenses during the winter. They can struggle with paying their basic needs, including gas or heating bills. It is this group of more low-moderate income people that Project Warm-up is targeted at.

Project Warm-up helps qualified households who have run out of all other non-profit or government fuel assistance and who have nowhere else to turn to for help. It can also assist those who were denied fuel assistance and/or are low in heating oil, as many people can have an empty tank during the winter months. It can also support individuals and families who have not applied for any other forms of utility bill assistance to date but who are in a crisis.

The fund can pay for bills from companies such as Natural Gas and all other providers. The money covers fuels such as natural gas, electric heat and more. Applications are processed and grant money is distributed from November to as late as April of each year.





The LIHEAP program in Connecticut is known as CEAP. This resource is paid for by the federal government, and it helps working poor and low income families pay their heating bills. An emergency component also helps people who are faced with a disconnection. Funds can be used to pay to fix a broken furnace or to maybe even purchase a new unit.

Any type of energy payments made are determined by the applicants gross income and family size, or whether the person has a senior or young child at home. The main objective is to help offset the winter heating costs of Connecticut's elderly citizens, disabled, and lower income households. Oftentimes unemployed households will apply for this program as well.

Operation Fuel offers emergency financial help for bills to residents are not eligible for CEAP or SAFA.So it is yet another resource available as a last resort. This program is required by state law, as many years ago the state legislature passed a regulation requiring all of the state's primary electric and gas utilities, including Connecticut Light and Power, to facilitate the collection of donations for the Operation Fuel program. These funds are then passed out to the less fortunate.

Local municipal heating programs operate in some towns as well. One example is Warm Thy Neighbor, which is a donation program offered by some local towns and municipalities. Call your local town office to see if they have this program, or a similar resource that relies on donations from the community. If it is available, in what only support households of that community.




Some municipalities operate emergency Fuel Banks. These can offer assistance to residents who do not meet financial or income levels and are about to lose their heat. It is for moderate income families with an income above that is set by the Connecticut Energy Assistance program, however the family may still be in a crisis.

Matching Payment Plans are available from companies such as Connecticut Natural Gas and others. Customers/applicants need to be considered to be in a hardship situation. You need to call your utility or gas company to request this solution. An application process is in place, and the company will determine a monthly payment arrangement for you. The service normally runs from November to May, and can be extended to year round if all qualifications are met.


By Jon McNamara

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