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How to Get Help Paying Your Electric Bill

How to Get Help Paying Your Electric Bill

Need help paying your electric bill? You’re not alone. We’re constantly getting messages from low income Americans who need help paying their electric bill and aren’t sure where to turn.

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In this article, we will break down the major nationwide programs that can help you pay your electric bill. We’ll recommend a few charities that may be able to help you, and we’ll also reveal the programs that your local utility offers that can help. Many people don’t know this, but electric companies across America have amazing assistance programs that help low income people get discounts on their service!

After all, I have a lot of personal experience getting help paying for electric bills. When I bought my house back in 2015, I was suddenly faced with power bills that were over $1,000 per month! I was shocked and I couldn’t afford it… so I called our utility company and asked for help. I discovered TONS of programs that I never knew existed!

The company even sent a representative who evaluated our home, recommended cost-saving measures and even gave us two free shower-heads and about a dozen free LED light bulbs! The representative also told us how we could get a new refrigerator and washing machine absolutely free.

About a year later, we discovered another program offered through our local Community Action Council that installed over $18,000 in FREE home improvements and energy-efficiency products (including a new air conditioner). Around that time, we also received around $2,000 in pledges to help pay our bills.

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These programs were a lifesaver for my family. That’s why I’m so excited to share them with you!

Government Assistance Programs

Government assistance programs are the first place you should turn if you need help paying your electric bill. These programs can pay money toward your bill to help reduce the amount you owe.

As an added benefit, many companies will suspend their collection and disconnection efforts while you pursue help from a government assistance program. If you tell them you’re applying for help, it can help buy you time before your utilities are shut off.

LIHEAP

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps low-income families pay for their heating and cooling bills. It offers grants that you don’t have to pay back, helping you avoid getting your power shut off and handle high energy costs.

To get this help, you need to contact the LIHEAP agency in your area. That’s usually your local Community Action Agency. They will verify your income, family size and other eligibility details.

It’s important to apply early since the program has limited funds and helps people on a first-come, first-served basis. You can apply through your state’s LIHEAP office or a local agency. If you’re in danger of losing your power, LIHEAP might also offer quick help to keep your services running.

Weatherization Assistance Program

The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) helps low-income families make their homes more energy-efficient. This program provides services to improve home energy use, which can lead to lower utility bills and a more comfortable living environment. Improvements may include adding insulation, sealing leaks, and updating heating and cooling systems.

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Eligibility is based on income, and priority is often given to families with elderly members, individuals with disabilities, and families with children. The program is free for those who qualify, and it’s run by local agencies in each state.

Applying through your local weatherization agency can help make your home more energy-efficient and save money on energy costs in the long run. You can usually apply for this program at the same time you apply for LIHEAP, which makes it very easy.

Charities that Pay Electric Bills

Although most of the charities and nonprofits that help pay your bill are local organizations and churches, there are a few well-known providers that exist all over the United States. You can usually count on these providers for help paying your electric bill.

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities can often help with utility bills. There are Catholic Charities all over America, but each location operates their program a little differently.

In most areas, Catholic Charities offers help paying your electric bills so they don’t get shut off. If you need help, you can go to your local Catholic Charities office. They’ll ask you about how much money you make and other details to see if you qualify.

If you do, they usually provide money directly to the company you owe. They also offer advice on how to lower your bills in the future. This help is to make sure you have a safe and warm home without worrying too much about high bills. If you need help with your utility bills, it never hurts to reach out to Catholic Charities for assistance.

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Salvation Army

Many Salvation Army chapters can provide help paying your electric bills, especially if you have a shut-off notice already. Like Catholic Charities, this organization operates in local chapters with varying services so it will depend on where you live.

If you need help with your electricity bill, it never hurts to ask Salvation Army if they can help or if they know where you can turn for help.

St. Vincent de Paul

Many St. Vincent de Paul parishes have funding available to help with crisis situations. To get help, you will usually need to have a shut-off notice already.

Funding from these churches is usually limited to $150 or less, and you often need to have already secured the rest of the money you need before they will pay the remainder.

211

When all else fails, you can usually call 211 to find more agencies that provide help paying your electric bill. If you live in New York City, the number is actually 311.

This will connect you to the United Way’s helpline. You’ll be connected with trained volunteers who have access to a detailed resource directory. They can help you find any agencies in your area that can assist with your specific needs.

Company Discounts & Local Assistance Programs

There are a number of ways that you can get a discount on your electricity bill. However, these programs usually aren’t widely advertised and you often have to ask about them.

For example, many companies offer programs that can help you pay your electric bill. These include discounts for seniors, veterans, and low income customers all over the United States. There are also local assistance programs and small local charities that may be able to help you pay your bill.

That’s why I’ve been on a mission to research and write about every power company in the US. I’ve discovered all sorts of helpful programs during my research, including monthly discounts, free weatherization programs, moratoriums that prevent your electricity from being disconnected, programs that forgive your past-due balance and so much more!

Choose your state from the list below to find out about all the ways you can get help paying your electric bill:

Relief Recap

This article serves as a central directory for all the ways that you can get help paying with your electric bill. We provided an overview of the nationwide programs that are available to assist you and included a link to our local resource directories, which provide comprehensive lists of government, nonprofit and corporate programs that can help you pay your electric bills.

Laticia

Wednesday 22nd of May 2024

Texas - Sam Houston Electric Coop told us they do not participate in LIHEAP because they are a coop and don't have to. A lot of companies here say they do not participate in programs. Tachus, an internet/cable/phone company, does not participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). If you live in rural areas here, you end up under monopolies, and they can do what they want - like not participate in these programs and you have no choice but to use their service.

Also, your Texas link takes me to Tennessee. Lovely state but not quite what I was looking for, lol.

Catherine Marucci

Tuesday 18th of June 2024

Sorry about that! You can find Texas here: https://lowincomerelief.com/category/texas

Mara

Friday 29th of March 2024

ND we do LIHEAP, and SENDCAA can cover the electric if LIHEAP covers the fuel, or for straight electricity or if someone is on section 8, we call Salvation Army. Many Catholic churches will help too.

Lois

Wednesday 1st of November 2023

Independence, Missouri (Independence Power and Light) in Jackson County, Missouri. I hope you're able to find something here eventually, but unfortunately I'm not holding my breath. They are the monopoly here and know it,and really are straight up thieves and highway robbers! I'm a single, 61 year old woman. I keep my thermostat much higher than a lot of others I sit in the dark every night with one 32" flat TV in my bedroom, and a couple of small nightlight everywhere else. I never cook, like... EVER. I have a relatively new fridge, and nothing else running. But the kicker is, that they hit me for nearly 250.⁰⁰ a month for service!!! Not just me,but everyone ELSE I this city is being ripped off by them too!! I'm just livid!! So yeah,hope you can light a fire under this place. 🤨😤 Thanks !

Catherine Marucci

Friday 3rd of November 2023

Hi. Have you already looked into these? https://www.independencemo.gov/government/city-departments/municipal-services/utilities-customer-service/utility-bill-payment-options/payment-assistance-programs

Robbie

Wednesday 31st of May 2023

My electric company isn't listed and I desperately need help with that bill. It's Oklahoma Electric Coop (OEC) I seriously doubt they're willing to help but I'd like to know if they offer any programs.

Catherine Marucci

Thursday 1st of June 2023

Hi Robbie. Have you applied for LIHEAP already? https://www.okdhslive.org/

Gloria mcguire

Friday 2nd of December 2022

Does upshur really electric cooperative having program or weatherization

Catherine Marucci

Saturday 3rd of December 2022

Hi Gloria. We don't have any information on them yet, but it may be worth contacting them directly to find out.