Financial assistance from Virginia Natural Gas.

People who need assistance with paying their natural gas bills have several options available to them. Virginia Natural Gas tries to do business the right way, and that means giving back to communities and supporting individuals who are faced with a hardship. So they offer customers several emergency and low income financial assistance programs.

Customers who are faced with an emergency may qualify for Crisis Assistance. This is offered by Virginia Natural Gas as a last resort type program. It is only offered as an option when resources from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) have been used up. Or it is an option if someone can’t qualify for LIHEAP. Crisis Assistance may also be offered when a customer has unsafe or inoperable heating equipment, lack of heat, no fuel, or if a disconnection of their gas service is imminent.

If you apply and are found to be qualified by Virginia Natural Gas, then the company and program may be able to offer one or more of the following. Get financial help for the purchase of primary home heating fuel, payment of an utility security deposit, repair or replacement of heating equipment, maintenance, and direct cash for paying natural gas bills. In addition, if you were disconnected and were evicted from a lack of utilities, some money can pay for a shelter accommodation.

In order to be eligible for Crisis Assistance, applicants need to meet income guidelines and be faced with a heating emergency as indicated above. Pick up an application at your local county social service office, or call Virginia Natural Gas for information and/or help applying. Oftentimes the application process will involve an interview with a case manager or social worker, who will need to review your financial situation.

Gas bills can also be paid by the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This will be an option during the winter when someone is trying to heat their home using natural gas. Individuals need to enroll during October or November, and the LIHEAP program helps qualified people on a first come, first serve basis. A social service agency, such as the Salvation Army or community action agency, will accept applications.





The Salvation Army and Virginia Natural Gas also work closely together to administer the EnergyShare program. This is created from donations from private individuals, local businesses, and charities. Also, Virginia Natural Gas and its customers donate funding to the program as well. This is one of the key services that can help people pay their gas bills. If you are interested in more information or applying, you will need to call the Salvation Army to make an appointment. They do not accept people who walk in. Find locations of the Salvation Army in Virginia.

EnergyShare is also only offered to help with making energy bill payments as a last resort. In effect this resource is similar to crisis assistance mentioned. Funds are only paid out through social services and Salvation Army centers until all money has been spent.

Non-profits operate in the service territory. These community-based organizations may also be able to help low income customers with bill paying assistance, referrals, and self-sufficiency/job training.  If you live on the peninsula dial the Office of Human Affairs at 757-244-6121. The STOP Organization operates in the South Hampton Roads area and can be reached at 757-858-1360.

Weatherization is provided by the federal government to low income, seniors, and disabled Virginia Natural Gas customers. This service is also run with state of Virginia certified community action agencies. The weatherization program will provide cost-effective energy efficiency and conservation measures for customers with an income at or below 175% of the federal government poverty line.

After receiving improvements to your home or apartment from free weatherization measures, many of the community action agencies will also review your heating and cooling equipment. Click here for a listing of local Virginia community action agencies and non-profits.

The community action agencies may determine any equipment or appliance that is inefficient. They will then repair or replace the equipment as needed.  All energy education services and efficiency measures are provided at no cost to the customer.



By Jon McNamara

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