There are a number of places you can turn if you need assistance in paying your energy bill. First, contact your utility company to find out about their programs. Some utilities have shareholder-funded emergency payment assistance programs for their customers. These can provide cash assistance to help offset the costs of heating and cooling their homes. There are also other plans that may be of assistance to you in managing your energy bills, such as balanced payment plans. You can also contact the following:
- California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE) - Low-income customers that are enrolled in the CARE program receive a 20 percent discount on their electric and natural gas bills and are not billed in higher rate tiers that were created for Southern California Edison (SCE), Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). CARE is funded through a rate surcharge paid by all other utility customers. To request an application form and more information, please contact your utility company or check out their websites for more information.
- California Interfaith Energy Assistance Project (CIEAP) - High-energy costs have forced many low-income families to choose between paying their utility bills, their rent or mortgage, buying groceries or paying for badly needed medical expenses. To help solve this problem, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has provided funding for the California Interfaith Energy Assistance Project (CIEAP) since January of 2002. CIEAP was originally operated through the California Council of Churches and Catholic Charities of California as an energy assistance initiative for low-income people in seven designated geographic areas, serving nine counties in California/
- Family Electric Rate Assistance Program (FERA) - Families whose household income slightly exceeds the low-income energy program allowances will qualify to receive FERA discounts, which bills some of their electricity usage at a lower rate. FERA is available for customers of SCE, SDG&E and PG&E. Please contact your electric utility to see if your family qualifies.
- Low-Income Energy Efficiency Program (LIEE) - The LIEE program provides no-cost weatherization services to low-income households who meet the CARE guidelines. Services provided include attic insulation, energy efficient refrigerators, energy efficient furnaces, weatherstripping, caulking, low-flow showerheads, waterheater blankets, and door and building envelope repairs which reduce air infiltration. To request an application form and more information, please contact your electric utility company.
- Low Income Home Energy
Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Phone Number: 1-866-675-6623
Administered by the California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD)
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Block Grant is funded by the federal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and provides two basic types of services. Eligible low-income persons, via local governmental and nonprofit organizations, can receive financial assistance to offset the costs of heating and/or cooling dwellings, and/or have their dwellings weatherized to make them more energy efficient. This is accomplished through these three program components:
The Weatherization Assistance Program provides free weatherization services to improve the energy efficiency of homes, including attic insulation, weatherstripping, minor housing repairs, and related energy conservation measures.
The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides financial assistance to eligible households to offset the costs of heating and/or cooling dwellings. For more information, call 1-866-675-6623.
The Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) provides payments for weather-related or energy-related emergencies.
Visit their website (above) for more information.
- Salvation Family Emergency Services - Families can look to The Salvation Army for help. Family Emergency Services addresses basic human needs, acting as a "safety net" for those who have nowhere else to turn. By providing food, clothing, utility assistance and counseling, case workers at Family Emergency Services prevent homelessness through crisis intervention. Contact your local Salvation Army Chapter or contact them at:
Salvation Family Emergency Services
1583 Howell Mill Road
Atlanta, GA 30318