Utilities – Assistance with Bills

Need Assistance with an Heat, Electrical or Utility Bill?

STEP # 1 – Contact your Local Utility

Most Utilities will have programs that offer assistance with Bills. These may include:

  • Company Funded assistance programs and/or grants
  • Referrals to community organizations that help with emergency payment assistance programs.
  • In some cases they may provide cash assistance to help offset the costs of home heating and cooling.
  • Most utilities offer monthly payment plans. These plans charge you a fixed amount each month so you can better budget your electric or heating costs bill costs. You will pay more in the low season but then pay less in the high season – this is a nice system because it prevents a very large surprise high season bill.

Here are list of some specific programs that may be of help to you:

Citgo Assistance Program

  • the program assists low-income families often forced to choose between heating their homes, buying groceries, or filling a prescription. In October 2010, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced that households heating primarily with heating oil are expected to spend an average of $2,124 this winter season, an increase of $218 over the previous winter.

The Citizens Energy Oil Heat Program

  • has delivered millions of gallons of discount home heating oil to poor and elderly households in Massachusetts and other cold weather states since 1979.  This unique program helps protect needy families from volatile heating oil prices, which often leave households having to choose between heating the home and paying for other life essentials, such as food, health care, or clothing.
  • Current Eligible states are Alaska, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Virginia, Pennsylvanian, New York, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Washington DC and Maryland

Dollar Energy Fund

  • Are you having difficultly affording safe utility service? There are a number of programs that may be available to help. Depending on where you live, how many people are in your household and how much money you make, you may be eligible for assistance. Contact your utility company for additional information on the specific programs they have available.

American Water

  • Sometimes customers face circumstances that stretch their financial resources. American Water is here to assist. Our customer service representatives will work with you on a plan to pay the balance of the bill over time. You may also be qualified to receive assistance through our Low Income Payment Program and H2O Help to Others Program™.
  • American Water is in many states – click here to see if they are in your state and if you qualify for assistance.

STEP # 2 – Contact Local, State and National Government Organizations

  • In many cases the local utility will be able to refer you to these resources – You may need to ask or need to get transfer to someone that knows but resources are available. Here is a list of  options. Here are some links to check out.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

  • The mission of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is to assist low income households, particularly those with the lowest incomes that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy, primarily in meeting their immediate home energy needs.
  • Do find a listings of organizations in your state or county that are funded through LIHEAP please click here for our state by state listings.

 STEP # 3 – Contact Local Charities

  • Remember Charities are churches can have numerous requests and sometimes those requests are false and or scams. So most organizations will have a policy or procedure for you to follow. It is best if you could get a referral to a helpful organization from a friend. This relational connection can be a great asset as you try and navigate the process of finding assistance with Bills. Here are some links to check out.

Salvation Army

  • Family service programs help families and needy individuals with emergency food, housing, utility assistance and other temporal needs.
  • Salvation Army programs vary with local needs. For information on specific programs and locations, contact your local Salvation Army Corps Community Center by doing a zip code search in their website’s Location field.

STEP # 4 – Know your Rights

  • They can’t just shut off your water, gas or electric
  • Most states have laws in place that regulate the process of when and how and utility is able to discontinue service for you water, gas and/or electric service.
  • Here is a link to a page that will give you specific information for you state – State Disconnection Policies

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