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Heating Assistance

Heating Assistance

The utility assistance programs that are funded by the state and federal government were created to help low-income residents with their heating and cooling bills. Some programs provide emergency financial assistance, while others offer changes to your home that result in long-term energy savings.

These programs have income eligibility guidelines associated with them. The guidelines are based upon a figure known as the Federal Poverty Level. Set by the federal government each year, this figure reflects an annual income that is considered to be at the poverty level based upon the number of members in a family and the cost of living.

Below is a table that reflects the current Federal Poverty Level set for various family sizes. 

Household Size Federal Poverty Level 175% of Poverty Level 200% of Poverty Level 225% of Poverty Level 400% of Poverty Level
1 $ 12,140        $ 21,245 $ 24,280      $ 27,315 $ 48,560    
2 $ 16,460        $ 28,805 $ 32,920 $ 37,035 $ 65,840
3 $ 20,780        $ 36,365 $ 41,560       $ 46,755 $ 83,120      
4 $ 25,100 $ 43,925        $ 50,200 $ 56,475       $ 100,400
5 $ 29,420 $ 51,485 $ 58,840 $ 66,195 $ 117,680
6 $ 33,740 $ 59,045 $ 67,480 $ 75,915     $ 134,960
7 $ 38,060 $ 66,605 $ 76,120 $ 85,635 $ 152,240
8 $ 42,380 $ 74,165 $ 84,760 $ 95,355 $ 169,520
each additional household member $ 4,320 $ 7,560 $ 8,640 $ 9,720 $ 17,280
 

Source: http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines 1.22.18

Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP)

What is LIEAP?

LIEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance Program) is a federally-funded program that provides a one-time payment to help eligible individuals and families pay their heating bills.

Learn more about this program.

Who is eligible?

The person applying must be responsible for home heating costs, have a gross income that falls at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, and must have less than $2,200 in savings. Persons who live in public housig and/or receive rental assistance are not eligible unless they pay for their own hearing/coolings costs directly to a utility company (instead of paying a portion of their rent for utilities). The amount of the LIEAP heating benefit is determined by income, household size, utility tyoe, and heating region. 

All payments will go directly to the utility companies.

When can I apply?

The application period is from December 1 - March 31. ONLY households with someone over the age of 60 or with a person who has a disability may apply December 1 - December 31. Beginning January 1, all other households may apply, and assistance will be provided until funds run out. Assistance is provided on a first-come, first-served basis, so people are encouraged to apply as soon as they are eligible.

Where and how do I apply?

The entire application process is handled by the Department of Social Services (DSS) in your area. Applications must be made in person, except for residents who are age 60 or older and/or have a disability. They may be permitted to receive and return applications by mail. Contact your local DSS office for more information.

You will need to provide the following documentation with you when you apply:

  •  proof of income for every household member who is 18 years of age or older (pay stubs from the last month, latest benefit letter from Social Security, or your most-current tax records)
  • Social Security card or letter from the Social Security Administration or social service agency showing your name and Social Security number
  • copy of your most recent utility bill
  • copy of your current tax bill, mortgage, or rental lease showing proof of address

Crisis Intervention Program (CIP)

What is CIP?

CIP (Crisis Intervention Program) is a federally funded program that provides assistance to eligible households that are in a heating related emergency. A household must have a member who is currently experiencing or is in danger of experiencing a life-threatening or health-related emergency because of the lack of heat. For more information, visit the Energy Assistance page.

Who is eligible?

The person applying must be experiencing a heating related emergency, responsible for home heating costs, and have a gross income that falls at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level. Persons who live in public housing and/or receive rental assistance are not eligible unless they pay for their own heating/cooling costs directly to the fuel supplier. The amount of the CIP heating benefit varies based upon the amount needed to alleviate the crisis.

An eligible household may receive assistance more than one time during the State Fiscal Year (July through June). The maximum allowed benefit amount can be up to $600 per application, per crisis situation; however, benefits cannot exceed $600 per State fiscal year.

All payments will go directly to the utility companies.

When can I apply?

An application can be made any time there is a heating related emergency.

Where and how do I apply?

Apply through the local Department of Social Services (DSS) in your area. Applications must be made in person, except for residents who are age 60 or older and/or have a disability. They may be permitted to receive and return applications by mail. Contact your local DSS office for more information.

You will need to provide the following documentation with you when you apply:

  • proof of emergency situation (is currently experiencing or is in danger of experiencing a life-threatening or health-related emergency because of the lack of heat)
  • proof of income for every household member who is 18 years of age or older (pay stubs from the last month, latest benefit letter from Social Security, or your most-current tax records)
  • Social Security card or letter from the Social Security Administration or social service agency showing your name and Social Security number
  • copy of your most recent utility bill
  • copy of your current tax bill, mortgage, or rental lease showing proof of address

Assistance from Charities/Nonprofits

Throughout the state, there are charities and nonprofits that may be able to provide financial assistance to help with heating bills. Funding will vary, and assistance may not always be available. Still, you should reach out to these agencies in your area to see if they can help you.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army in your community may have a Crisis Assistance Program, where they can provide short-term financial assistance for people in emergency situations. Contact your local Salvation Army to see if they offer this program.

Catholic Charities

Many Catholic Charities offer short-term financial assistance for people in emergency situations. Contact the Catholic Charities in your area to see if you qualify for this program.

Community Action Agencies

Community Action Agencies offer short-term financial assistance for people in emergency situations through their Emergency Energy Assistance Program. Contact your local Community Action Agency to see if you qualify for this program.

These are some of the most common agencies throughout the state. There may be more charities and nonprofits in your area. You can call NC 2-1-1 anytime to speak with trained call specialist who can provide referrals to resources in your community. NC 2-1-1 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and is free and confidential.

Winter Termination Program

From November 1 through March 31, utility companies cannot disconnect service to households that: include a person with a disability or someone who is age 65 or older; are unable to pay under an installment plan; and are certified by a local social services agency as eligible to receive assistance under an energy assistance program. In order to receive this service, you need to call your utility company and explain why you need this protection.

Even if you do not qualify for the Winter Termination Program (because you do not have someone in your household who has a disability and/or is over age 65), your power still cannot be disconnected on Fridays, weekends, state or federal holidays, or the day before a state or federal holiday.

If  you are concerned about an elderly relative, keep in mind that any customer can assign another person to receive a separate copy of any utility service termination notices.

For more information on the Winter Termination Program and other protections, visit the NC Department of Justice website.

Assistance from Utility Providers

Utility companies understand that many of their customers face difficult financial hardships. If you are unable to pay your utility bills or are finding it increasingly difficult, call your utility company to find out about the programs and payment options that they offer that might be of assistance to you.

Operation Round Up

Provides a grant to help people with paying utilities.

Contact your utility company to see if they participate in this program and to ask about completing an application form.

Share the Warmth - Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas customers ONLY

Provides emergency, short term help with paying utilities.

Call 1-800-752-7504 for more information on applying and to see if you qualify for the service.

Energy Neighbor Fund - Progress Energy customers ONLY

Provides emergency, short term help with paying utilities.

Call 800-452-2777 for more information on applying and to see if you qualify for the service.

Helping Each Member Program - Haywood Electric customers ONLY

Provides emergency, short term help with paying utilities.

Applicants will need to provide proof of income, copies of utility bills, and proof of a LIEAP application.

Call 828-452-2281 for more information on applying and to see if you qualify for the service.

Lumbee River Care Program - Lumbee River Electric customers ONLY

Provides emergency, short term help with paying utilities. Priority is given to people with a medical emergency and older adults without power.

Applicants will need to provide proof of income, copies of utility bills, and proof of identification. They need to have a plan to get back on track and pay for future energy bills.

Call 910-843-4131 for more information on applying and to see if you qualify for the service.

Project Helping Hand - Piedmont Electric customers ONLY

Provides emergency, short term help with paying utilities.

Call 800-222-3107 for more information on applying and to see if you qualify for the service.

People Helping People - Randolph Electric customers ONLY

Provides emergency, short term help with paying utilities.

Call 800-672-8212 for more information on applying and to see if you qualify for the service.

Warmth for Wake - Wake County customers ONLY

Provides emergency, short term help with paying utilities. Also provides new and gently used space heaters to older adults and other low-income households who are lacking another heat source. Also provides free deliveries of firewood to homes that can use it to offset their gas or electric bills.

Call 919-212-7000 for more information on applying and to see if you qualify for the service.

Lowering your energy use = lowering your bill

Cold temperatures typically bring an increased demand for electricity, as people turn on their heaters. Coupled with rising costs for energy supply, this could mean higher electric bills for those who don't plan ahead.

Weatherization Assistance Program

The Weatherization Assistance Program improves energy efficiency and household safety through making minor repairs, installing insulation, and completing home evaluations. The program's focus is on older adults, people with disabilities, families with children, and people who spend a large amount on utility bills each month. Weatherization assistance is available for single-family homes, apartments, condominiums, and mobile homes. You do not have to own your own home to be eligible. Renters must have written permission from their landlord. Households can save up to $300 a year after weatherization assistance. Weatherization assistance does the following:

  • Professionally evaluates homes for safety and energy efficiency
  • Tunes, repairs, or replaces heating and air systems as needed
  • Insulates attics, floors, and walls as needed
  • Makes minor repairs to homes for health and safety reasons

Weatherization assistance is available to individuals or families with a gross income that falls at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.

Applications must be made in-person at a local service provider. Find your service provider here. You must provide proof of income for everyone in your household. Examples of the documents needed are pay stubs and social security payments for the past year. The local service provider may ask for additional documentation. You will need annual income verification for all occupants, energy bills or a printout from your utility company, and proof of ownership of property to be weatherized (or written permission from your landlord).

Here are some simple things you can do to save energy and lower your electric bills:
  • Turn off everything you're not using; lights, TVs, computers, etc. Use dimmers, timers and motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting. Unplug computers and phone chargers when they are not in use.
  • Set a programmable thermostat to your daily and weekend schedule.
  • Check the weather-stripping and caulking around doors and windows. Eliminate air leaks between windows with foam insulation or weather-stripping.
  • Close doors leading to unheated parts of your home. With central heat, close off vents to unused rooms.
  • If using a fan, reposition the fan blades. Ceiling fan blades should be rotating counter-clockwise during the winter months.
  • Refrain from using non-essential appliances. Unplug or use only when necessary an extra refrigerator in your garage.
  • Replace your incandescent light bulbs for lower-watt fluorescent bulbs or LED bulbs. This change can save you a large amount of money over time.

To find help in the NC 2-1-1 database, search by:

Electric Service Payment Assistance

Gas Service Payment Assistance

Heating Fuel Payment Assistance

Firewood Stockpiling

Weatherization Programs

Need more information?

If you didn't find what you need on this page or need more information on local resources, dial 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162. Our call specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

 

Prepared by: NC 2-1-1/LP

Date Updated: December 20, 2017

 

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