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Utility and electric bill assistance programs in Virginia.

Assistance programs can help pay utility and energy bills of Virginia families who meet income guidelines. Most of the utility companies that operate in the state either offer their own financial assistance programs or they can direct the low income to grants as well as government low-income energy bill assistance programs. There are payment plans, government resources, free weatherization or conservation programs, emergency hardship plans for electric bills and more.

Utility companies in Virgina try to help low income families either (1) keep their utilities on or (2) reconnect their service. To this end they offer state or federal government grants, abatements, financial aid and other assistance. Get information below on where to go for help and who to contact.

Direct assistance from utility and energy companies in Virginia

American Electric Power – The assistance program offered to customers is the Neighbor-to-Neighbor. To be eligible for these program customers must supply a utility, heating or gas bill disconnect notice to the Department of Social Services. The assistance program begins in January of each year and continues until funds are exhausted or March 31, whichever comes first.

Appalachian Power - This company provides utility and electrical service to hundreds of thousands of customers in the region. Customers who need help can receive assistance from government programs such as LIHEAP and weatherization, or from other programs like the Dollar Energy Fund. Learn more on all of the emergency financial assistance programs that are available for paying bills.

Appalachian Power / AEP also offers customers, including senior citizens and the poor, with additional financial assistance programs, including the Dollar Energy Fund. Some of the resources are available for all of the AEP states and service territories, and other are just for Virginia households. More on Appalachian Power Virginia assistance programs.

Atmos Energy - Sharing the Warmth can help people pay their gas bills. It is run by your local community action agency or Salvation Army/charity.

City of Charlottesville – The Gas Assistance Program may be able to provide emergency cash grants and payments for low to moderate income households that are not able to pay their utility and gas bills and have exhausted both state and federal government assistance programs. Referrals to this particular program are given through a variety of charities and community action groups. Intake is provided by the City of Charlottesville Department of Public Utilities and funds are distributed by this office as well.




Columbia Gas of Virginia runs the Heatshare program that is administered by your local Salvation Army branch. Heatshare is an emergency assistance program/fund that was created to help households with paying their energy bills. To find out if you qualify for a grant from the program, call the Universal Services department at 1-800-537-7431 to learn more or request an application.

Columbia Gas of Virginia - In addition to the resource above, several other emergency and low income assistance programs are available to income qualified customers. The energy company will offer budget billing, payment plans, and applications for government aid. More details on financial assistance from Virginia Columbia Gas.

Dominion Virginia Power – This utility company offers customers the Fan Care program.  This program may be able to provide free fans to elderly low income Virginians who reside within the Dominion Virginia Power service area who are age 60 or older and meet income guidelines defined by the Area Agencies on Aging. The program is run at the local level by non-profits, charities, and community action agencies. A list of participating agencies and more details on the program is available by contacting the Virginia Department for the Aging at 1-800-552-3402.

Dominion Virginia Power, which can be reached at 1-866-366-4357, runs the EnergyShare program. This was created to help low-income households and the working poor. EnergyShare is a heating and cooling bill assistance program that is offered in Virginia. Heating bill assistance provided from the program applies to any heat source that customers may use, whether it is gas, oil, kerosene, wood and/or electricity. Apply at one of the EnergyShare agencies near you, which can include an office of the utility company or the local Salvation Army. Also find more Dominion Power low income programs.

Harrisonburg Electric Commission – The Energy Share program provides assistance to those families and individuals who need help paying their heating and utility bills. Funds and grants will be managed primarily by the Salvation Army. As long as funds are available from the program, they will make payments for all qualifying customers and households. Call 540-434-5361





Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative – The program offered to customers is known as Operation Round UP. Basically donations from customers, local businesses and utility donations provide financial assistance to people to help pay their heating bills. People who need financial assistance from the program should contact the Virginia Department of Social Services at 1-804-726-7000 or toll-free 1-800-552-3431 to learn more or to apply for help. Read more assistance from Northern Virginia Electric.

Utility deposits – A total of four major utility and energy companies that operate in Virginia waive security deposits for LIHEAP eligible customers. They include the following utility companies. Call Appalachian Power- 1-800-956-4237, Virginia Natural Gas - 1-866-229-3578, as well as Washington Gas- 703-750-1000.

Virginia Natural Gas – Low income customers can receive energy conservation improvements. VNG has partnered with state government certified weatherization agencies and non-profits to provide cost-effective energy efficiency measures for customers with an income at or below 175% of the federal government poverty level. Besides weatherization and other energy conserving measures, the agency may also determine that equipment and appliance repair is needed and it will proceed with those types of improvements as well.  Participants in this energy conservation program will be asked to partner with the program to develop and carry out a household energy savings Action Plan.

One of the keys to this service is that all energy efficiency and conservation measures as well as any energy education services are provided free of charge to the customer. To learn more or to apply, Southside and Hampton customers need to call the Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project at (757) 858-1397. Also Peninsula Residents (those who live anywhere other than Hampton) should call the Williamsburg/James City County Community Action Network at (757) 229-9389 to apply for help.

Virginia Natural Gas – The EnergyShare program, which begins every year January, helps customers with making energy bill payments. Assistance may be available if all other alternatives and government programs that are available through social service agencies have been exhausted. Call The Salvation Army to make an appointment to apply for help as walk-ins are not accepted. The numbers to call include Suffolk, call 539-5201, South Hampton Roads, call 543-8100, and On the Peninsula dial 838-4875.

There are other Virginia Natural Gas programs and resources for low income customers. Funds can help pay gas bills, or prevent a disconnection. Read more on Virgina Natural Gas assistance programs.

Washington Gas – This energy company administers the Washington Area Fuel Fund. The financial assistance program provides heating bill assistance and cash payments for low-income households that reside in the Washington D.C. area that do not qualify for or have exhausted both local and federal government assistance. The program is run in the area by the Salvation Army. Call 540-869-1111

Washington Gas - Several other payment plans and discounts are offered. Low income customers and individuals faced with a disconnection can receive financial assistance, payment plans, and more. Find a listing of Washington Gas assistance programs.

State and federal government utility bill assistance in Florida

State of Virginia programs - All participating utility companies for the federal government LIHEAP Fuel and Crisis Assistance programs have agreed to waive charging the State Sales Tax on all fuel deliveries to their customers. Qualified households instead will be able to receive the amount that would otherwise be paid to the State of Virginia for sales tax in the total amount of fuel delivered. Call 211 or the United Way referrals for details.





Low income energy bill assistance and free conservation - Cash grants can help pay utilities in Virginia. In addition, the second program is weatherization, which is for conservation. While resources are limited, your local county social service office has more information and will accept applications for these state of Virginia utility bill assistance programs. Continue with free weatherization and LIEHAP in Virginia.

Summer cooling bill help from social services and the government - State and local social service offices in Virginia can provide financial assistance during the summer. The money can be used to pay for air conditioning bills and electric expenses. The goal is to help keep the elderly and vulnerable cool during the hot summer months, Other assistance available can include fans or even gently used AC units. Learn more on cooling bill help in Virginia.


By Jon McNamara

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