UNION, NJ – Months of cold weather are ahead, and with that comes heating costs. Customers who need help to pay their winter heating bills may be eligible for relief from one of several assistance programs, according to Elizabethtown Gas Company.
Last year, nearly 15,000 Elizabethtown Gas customers received a total of $7.5 million in financial assistance from various energy assistance programs.
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps eligible customers meet their energy needs by helping to pay their winter heating bills. The application period opened on Oct. 1, 2015 and continues through April 30, 2016. Eligibility is based on several factors, including fuel type, region of the state that you reside in and income. The state’s income guidelines are based on 200 percent of the federal poverty level. A LIHEAP application also is an application for the Universal Service Fund Program (USF), a program created by the state to help make natural gas and electric bills more affordable for low-income households. For more information about LIHEAP and USF or to locate an authorized local community action agency or community based organization in your area, call 2-1-1 or the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Hotline (toll-free) at 1-800-510-3102.
- Warm Neighbors is a supplemental program made up of voluntary contributions from Elizabethtown Gas customers. The program provides a one-time annual grant of up to $450, which will be distributed to qualified residential customers year-round based on availability of funding. To qualify, a household must have monthly income within 200 to 400 percent of the federally established poverty level and a customer must have made a payment of at least $100 within 60 days of their application. Customers who are facing a crisis situation also can apply for the benefit. For more information about Warm Neighbors, visit www.elizabethtowngas.com or your local intake agency.
- Temporary Relief for Utility Expenses (TRUE) grant program, a one-time benefit of up to $750 for moderate income households experiencing a temporary financial crisis, also is available to eligible utility customers. The TRUE application also is an application for Payment Assistance for Gas & Electric (PAGE) program, which provides a one-time grant of up to $700 for natural gas customers. Both programs are administered by the Affordable Housing Alliance, and are intended for those residents not enrolled in other programs, such as LIHEAP or USF during the last 12 months.
The following resources also are available to help manage heating costs:
- The Elizabethtown Gas Budget Plan is a bill management program that provides a convenient way for customers to pay their natural gas bills, making household budgeting much easier. The plan minimizes the "peaks and valleys" in natural gas bills by allowing customers to pay a consistent amount every month for a 12-month period. Customers interested in enrolling in the budget plan should visit elizabethtowngas.com or call the Customer Care Center at 1-800-242-5830.
- The energySMART program offers ideas and tools to help customers save energy and money. Combined with offers from New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program, energySMART can provide up to $1,400 in rebates on the purchase and installation of energy-efficiency equipment.
For additional information about each of these programs and more information about managing natural gas costs, visit www.elizabethtowngas.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter @etowngas.