Due to the pandemic and high natural gas prices worldwide, electricity and gas supply prices are set to be very high this winter. New and expanded fuel assistance programs are available to help customers pay bills or manage the increase.
If you are behind on your utility bills, you should call your utility company immediately and ask about their payment plans. Utilities are offering several customer assistance programs, including flexible payment plans (regardless of income) and balance forgiveness plans for those eligible. You will be protected from shutoff if you make payments as scheduled under the plan.
Don’t wait to apply for income-eligible assistance programs. First, contact your utility to apply for an income-eligible rate which provides a discount on your whole bill. Second, you may qualify for the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP eligibility is evaluated based on your gross household income for the past 4 weeks.
From November 15 to March 15, there is a moratorium in place that prevents shutting off your gas or electric if you use that to heat your home. But know that you will still owe payment for your bills. To avoid falling into debt, take advantage of fuel assistance programs or enroll in a budget installment plan.
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