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Energy and utility bill assistance in Tennessee.

Most utility companies in Tennessee offer customers some type of financial assistance program or free energy conservation service. Low income and other qualified individuals may be able to get emergency help paying for their energy, utility, and cooling bills. Or utility companies will offer consumers payment plans.

In addition to the support from the electric, light or gas company, there are also state of Tennessee as well as federal government assistance programs for low income families or struggling households. Grants and other forms of financial assistance may be able to help a family or individual in Tennessee pay their utility bills during a difficult period.

Direct assistance from utility companies in Tennessee

Appalachian Power – They run the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program. It is a utility bill payment assistance program. Call 423-246-6180

Athens Utility Board – The Warm Neighbors Program allows AUB to be able to provide a way to help those low income customers who are in need to maintain their utility or power service without interruption. Call 423-745-4501

Atmos Energy runs a financial assistance program known as Sharing the Warmth. Funds can be used to help people pay their monthly gas bills. All donations and grants will go directly to local people in need of help, and the funds will assist those people that meet criteria established by each individual program's guidelines. Call Atmos to learn where to apply for help in your local Tennessee county. Find More details on emergency assistance from Atmos.

Cumberland Electric Member Corporation, Clarksville Gas & Water, as well as Clarksville Department of Electricity all run a service known as Project Help. This program can help those in need pay utility bills, and it is focused on the hardest hit in the community. Call your provider and inquire into Project Help.




Duck River Electric Member Corporation – Also runs a version of Project HELP. The way this program works is it is funded by customer donations and the funds will help defray the cost of energy and utility bills for elderly and handicapped members in the community. Contact a local DREMC office to get more information or to apply for help. Or the main headquarters office is at (931) 684-4621.

Holston Electric Cooperative – A winter assistance version of Project Help is offered. The elderly, handicapped, low income and those in economic crisis in the community can apply for heating bill assistance once a year. For more information on this particular plan, or to apply for financial assistance, local Hawkins County residents can call the Neighborhood Service Center at 272-2830 or if you live in Hamblen County, these residents can call Central Services at 586-9431 to apply. Call the company as well, and the numbers are (423) 581-2066 (Russellville Office office) or (423) 272-8821 (Rogersville).

Jackson Energy Authority, which can be reached at 731-422-7500 or 423-9257, runs the Round Up Program. Funds and donations that are collected from the Round Up Program will be given to Area Relief Ministries (ARM), which is a non-profit, social services agency in the community. ARM will distribute the funds to low income and struggling residents meeting the criteria of the agency.

Johnson City Power Board offers customers the Heisse Johnson Hand Up Program. This is another private and individual donation program is which funds are collected from customers and are then distributed by the Salvation Army as well as the Good Samaritan Ministries who need financial assistance for paying their energy bills. Call Good Samaritan Ministries at 423-928-0288.

Knoxville Utilities Board - Project Help is an emergency heating bill assistance program that helps people buy heating oil, electricity, natural gas, kerosene, oil, and wood for people who need temporary financial help for paying their energy and heating bills. The program was created to support the low income, elderly or disabled people who live on fixed incomes, struggling single parents, and families who have lost their incomes through unemployment, a reduction in hours or illness.

The Knoxville Community Action Committee runs the Project Help program. Call 865-524-2911. Click here for additional details on this Knoxville utility financial aid program and other form or utility bill assistance.

Memphis Light Gas and Water – Another program known as Plus-1 is run by the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA). The program can help individuals pay utility bills and provide energy services for people in need in the local community. Call 901-527-0208





Memphis Light Gas and Water – the program administered is known as EnergySmart Memphis. It is a yearlong energy conservation and education program. It can also be a home improvement initiative that was designed to help Memphians save money on their energy costs and utility bills. Customers of Memphis Light Gas and Water will receive in-depth energy conservation training and access to savings programs, and in addition eligible customers will have weatherization improvements made to their home. As part of this particular initiative, MLGW also has set aside funds and cash grants that can be used to help weatherize the homes of customers who meet federal government poverty guidelines. Dial (901) 544-6549 or 528-4444.

Memphis Light Gas and Water offers its customers the On Track program. It is basically a payment program that was designed to help customers with low and/or limited incomes to manage their debts and pay off their utility and energy bills over a period of time. The assistance program focuses social services, education, and financial management. To qualify for the assistance program customers of the utility company must have a steady, but limited, total household income and owe more than $600 to MLGW.

Participants of the On track program may be entered onto receive Extended Payment Plans for up to three years. Other services offered by the program include minor home repairs for homeowners and the utility deposit they pay may be able to be credited back to the account after completion of the assistance program. Applications are available from Memphis Light Gas and Water. Call them, or read more on assistance Memphis Light Gas and Water.

Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative – They run their own version of Project Help. Aid is available to help people who are having some type of temporary financial difficulty, and it can help them pay their winter energy and heating bills. Money and cash grants are distributed each year through community action agencies and local charities in each county. Call (931) 729-3558./

Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation - Project Help from this energy provider can help people defray emergency energy costs and utility bills for the elderly and disabled members as well as those who are not economically self-sufficient. The following agencies, non-profits, and charities determine eligibility for receiving assistance: Cannon County Senior Citizens Center, 615-563-5304. Rutherford County, The Community Helpers, 615-898-0617. Wilson County Community Help Center, 615-449-1856. Williamson County, Graceworks, 615-794-9055

Morristown Utility Systems – Their version of the Project Help assistance program may be able to provide funds for those low income and other people who need help paying their monthly energy and utility bills. The funds and the program are currently allocated through the Morristown-Hamblen Central Services, so call them at 423-586-9431 to get more information or to apply for help.





Mountain Electric Cooperative, which can be reached at 423-727-1800, runs Operation Pocket Change. Customer donations and donations from local businesses provide funds and cash grants for qualified community projects, financial assistance programs, and people who are in genuine needy situations.
Nashville Electric Service runs a program that is funded by customer contributions from NES and Nashville Gas.

The resource is known as Project HELP, and it is administered by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee. Donations and funding from the program can help the disabled, elderly, and low income in the community with their energy costs and utility bills. Call 615-736-6900

Nashville Electric Service (NES) - This energy company administers a few low income assistance programs. They include LIHEAP, weatherization, and Project HELP. The programs can provide energy conservation, grants for paying utility bills, and other aid. Read more Nashville Electric Service programs.

Newport Utilities – Yet another Tennessee utility company that runs a version of the Project Help program. The program may be able to provide funds to help certain needy customers, such as the low income, elderly, handicapped, working poor or others pay their utility and cooling bills in case of extreme emergency. Applications for aid and support are available only through the Neighborhood Center. The main number is  (423)625-2800, or e-mail Newport Utilities at

Piedmont Natural Gas - Share the Warmth is offered by local charities and partner agencies, all of which use customer and utility donations to provide direct cash grants as well as financial assistance to low-income individuals. The program can support  people who use all forms of energy including natural gas, propane, wood , heating oil, electricity, coal, and kerosene. Metro Action Commission (Davidson County), 615-880-1000. Highland Rim Economic Corporation (Dickson County), 931-289-4101. Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency (Cheatham, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson and Wilson counties), 615-742-1113 or 615-453-2243. The main Piedmont number is 866.316.3356.

Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative – This power company runs SVECares. The program is funded by customer donations that provide financial help and assistance to worthy causes for community organizations, families and individuals. Call (423) 837-8605.

Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation offers its qualified customers the Project Help assistance program. It is funded by member donations and contributions from businesses. The financial assistance is provided to local agencies that then distribute the cash grants to customers who need financial assistance and help during emergency situations. For more information or to apply call (731) 772-1322 or 1-800-772-0472.

Summer assistance programs - The city of Memphis offers a number of cooling assistance programs, free fans, and operates centers that individuals can use to get out of the heat. The city can also refer people to other non-profits in Shelby County that can provide utility assistance. Find how to apply for energy bill help in Memphis.

Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation also runs their own version of the Project Help energy bill assistance program. Funds may be available to qualified individuals to help them pay for emergency energy bill expenses for disabled and elderly members as well as those who are not economically self-sufficient or who need some emergency funding. The money collected is sent to an independent agency or to non-profit to run the program in the service area. Call 615-735-2940 or 1-800-261-2940.







Government resources in Tennessee

Community action agencies in Tennessee are a place to learn about government resources. There may be free grants, home improvement programs or other utility bill assistance at both the state as well as federal level. Staff help with applications as well as other requests. Find community action agencies in Tennessee near you for resources.

Low income government assistance - Cash grants from the federal government can help pay utility bills, including cooling and heating. Additional funding is offered to update, repair and weatherize a home. All programs are free to income qualified Tennessee families. More on Tennessee LIHEAP and weatherization.

If your energy company is not listed above, find additional low income electric bill programs, and read more on other options that can help Tennessee customers pay their utility bills. There are federal government programs, LIHEAP, emergency grants, and other forms of aid. 

By Jon McNamara


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