I Need Help Paying My Power Bill

I Need Help Paying My Power Bill – Life happens. Sometimes this happens and you end up holding the bill – ie. utility bill. Explore your options if you’re having trouble making payments.

If you’ve ever shivered during sub-zero mornings in Maine or sweated on a summer afternoon in South Florida, you know that the thermostat may be the most valuable appliance in your home.

I Need Help Paying My Power Bill

Gas, fuel oil, electricity and water bills are among the biggest household expenses. Struggling to keep your power supply or oil tank full can be tough, especially if you’re going through tough times.

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Fortunately, there are a range of government, charitable and utility company programs that make these costs manageable. If you’ve lost your job or have an emergency that makes it difficult or impossible to pay utility bills, learn about the help available and start calling.

Utility service is an essential service that keeps your home functional and livable. These include essential services that heat and cool your home and power your appliances, as well as less important services that provide entertainment and comfort.

The average American will spend $370 per month in 2022 on utilities including electricity, natural gas, water, garbage collection, broadband and streaming. This number can vary depending on where you live and what services are typical in your location. Electricity is the great equalizer across America, no matter how people heat or cool their homes. The average monthly electricity bill in the US in 2020 was $117.46, with residents of Hawaii paying the most at $162.66. The lowest average monthly bill for Utah residents is $80.24.

No matter where you live, utility bills eat up a big chunk of your monthly budget, especially if your income doesn’t keep up with your expenses or you’ve lost your job.

Ways To Pay

Utilities are a necessity, not a luxury, and when you don’t have enough money to pay, it calls for quick action.

If you have an immediate financial crunch, you need to prioritize utilities. Depending on the season, it may be necessary to heat or cool the home. Electricity and water have always been there, and so is the fast internet.

But look at what might not be necessary—including cable, phones, and streaming services. Consider cutting the cord for a while. If you have a landline and a cell phone, keep one of them on.

If you are still having problems paying your bills after making the change, you should contact your utility provider to let them know. In many northern states, it is illegal for the utility company to shut off the power in the winter, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay a bill at some point. Find out how you and the utility company can work together to make sure you stay safe and warm.

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Unpaid utility bills will not go away and will contribute to future financial difficulties. To pay old utility bills:

If you know you won’t be able to pay your utility bills, start looking for help as soon as possible. Government programs and charities can help, but you need to know what’s available and ask for it.

The best utility assistance program for electric bills and other utilities that provide heating and cooling is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Administered by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, it provides funds to states to help people with financial need pay their energy bills.

The program was to allocate a record $8.3 billion in 2022, including money from the regular budget process for the 2022-23 fiscal year. The program will receive a supplement with an additional $100,000 in January 2022 as part of the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act. million every year till 2025. This money supports residents of all 50 states administered by the state Departments of Human Services.

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LIHEAP is used to help offset heating and cooling bills, so if you heat with gas, that’s what you’re getting and the program won’t help with your electric bill.

There are income limits to qualify for LIHEAP assistance based on a formula that uses the national poverty level. Although eligibility varies from state to state, a single-member household cannot earn more than $20,385 per year. The amount of income rises sharply with household size, between approximately $6,000 and $7,000 per household member.

If you are already eligible for benefit programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or means-tested VA benefits, You may automatically qualify for LIHEP.

LIHEAP also has a priority system that benefits families with at-risk or disabled family members and families with elderly members.

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LIHEAP funding is limited – each local office receives a certain amount each year, and when the funding runs out, there are no further benefits until Congress makes it available the following year. Traditionally, only about 20% of national households that qualify for assistance under program guidelines have received assistance, but additional funding in 2022, continued additional assistance for another five years, and more new programs and outreach It is expected to reach hundreds of thousands of Americans who need public assistance.

In addition to LIHEAP, some states have their own utility assistance programs. Ohio, Colorado, New Jersey, Nevada, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Maine have programs that subsidize utility bill payments based on income level.

If gas is your main source of heating, the benefits of LIHEAP can help with your bills. Gas companies also run assistance programs using LIHEAP money, so if you can’t pay your gas bill, the best thing to do is contact your gas supplier.

State housing authorities also have programs that can help with heating bills, and many states also have utility assistance programs that are separate from those offered through federal aid.

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The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is similar to LIHEAP for energy bills. LIHWAP provides money to low-income households to help pay water bills as well as sewer bills, recognizing that access to safe drinking water and wastewater disposal is essential to public health.

The program is new, created by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CAAct) and expanded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. It allocated $1.1 billion in its first round of funding to all 50 states, as well as tribal governments and territories, which will then create programs to provide assistance to residents. The program is temporary and is scheduled to end on December 31, 2023.

To qualify for water bill assistance, an applicant must meet the same income level as LIHEAP applicants and spend more than 30% of their monthly income on housing. Up to 3% of the funds should be directed to tribes and tribal organizations.

Many states as well as water companies have programs separate from LIHWAP that can help people who need help paying their water bills. Check your state’s Human Services website.

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For most people, phone is not a luxury but a necessity. If you need a phone but can’t afford your phone bill, the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline Assistance Program, administered through Assurance Wireless and SafeLink Wireless, can help. Available in Washington, DC and every state except Montana. Each state has its own criteria – most require you to qualify for other aid programs such as SNAP, TANF, LIHEAP, etc. All but provide cell phones and services to low-income residents who would not otherwise be able to afford them.

The Lifeline Assistance Program also works through cell phones and other utility providers to help adjust contracts and services if a customer has lost their job or suffered another financial setback. If you can no longer pay your bills, contact your service provider to see if you qualify.

Another option is to look for a cheaper phone service that covers penalties for breaking your contract with your current provider. Many telephone services offer this as an incentive to attract customers.

Donations are also available for those facing bill payment woes. You can often find these agencies by dialing 2-1-1 on your phone and contacting an emergency operator.

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Organizations that can help include the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Ministry, Society of St. Paul. Vincent de Paul, Jewish Federation of North America, United Way and Urban League.

Most organizations help at the local level, although the Red Cross has some financial support in responding to national disasters. Other organizations operate in communities with different budgets and priorities. It’s best to show up with your utility bill and any evidence that can support your request for help.

Local churches also often offer help. If you need help with your bills, call churches in your area and ask if they offer help with maintaining your utilities. Many people do not require you to be a member of their congregation in order to receive help.

Many communities also have general assistance programs through local government that provide funds that do not have to be repaid for proven emergencies, including those related to utilities. Check your city or town’s website to see if general assistance is available.

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