Qualified customers can now apply for Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) grants, a federally funded program that provides regular and emergency assistance to help pay heating and utility bills. These grants are available through local Department of Social Services (DSS) offices as well as Offices for the Aging. In addition to a HEAP benefit, customers who qualify will also be issued a monthly credit on their Central Hudson bill for a maximum of 12 months based on service type and the amount of the HEAP benefit.
“We are pleased to offer this additional assistance to families who may be struggling, especially as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Anthony Campagiorni, Vice President of Customer Services and Gas Operations. “We encourage all customers who are eligible to apply.”
Families who qualify for the grants and use electricity or natural gas as their primary heating source could receive $350 or more off their utility bill depending on family income and size guidelines. Campagiorni added households receiving a HEAP benefit for non-utility heating fuels such as oil, propane, wood/wood pellets, kerosene, coal or corn are also eligible for a monthly credit on their electric or non-heating gas bill.
As an example: A Central Hudson customer who qualifies for a Tier 1 HEAP grant and uses natural gas for heating is eligible for bill credits of up to $49 per month; while a Tier 1 customer who has electric heating can receive a credit of up to $22 each month. Customers who qualify for higher tiers could be eligible for larger bill credits.
A Tier 1 customer who uses non-utility heating fuels could receive up to $22 per month on their electric bill through these credits. These customers must email their current Notice of Decision letter to Central Hudson at firstname.lastname@example.org to be enrolled and receive the bill credit.
Regular HEAP grants for the fall and upcoming winter are available between Nov. 2, 2020, and Mar. 15, 2021, or until funding is exhausted. Emergency HEAP grants will be available between Jan. 4, 2021, and Mar. 15, 2021. These benefits are designed to meet an eligible household's immediate energy needs. The Heating Equipment Repair or Replacement (HERR) program is also available to assist customers who have primary heating equipment that is either inoperable or unsafe. HERR grants are currently available and will remain so through Sept. 30, 2021.
To apply for HEAP and HERR benefits, eligible residents may contact their local DSS office, call (800) 342-3009, or visit www.mybenefits.ny.gov. Individuals who are 60 and older and do not receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits may contact their local Office for the Aging to learn of the eligibility requirements by calling (800) 342-9871 or by visiting www.aging.ny.gov.
In addition to bill discounts associated with HEAP grants, Central Hudson also offers other payment assistance programs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Central Hudson has suspended service terminations and is actively reaching out to customers who are experiencing financial challenges to determine if they are eligible for further assistance. In order to provide necessary documentation for certain assistance programs, some Central Hudson customers are being proactively provided with statements showing a past due balance or a termination notice. These statements may be necessary for a customer to qualify for an emergency HEAP benefit or other charitable resources like Central Hudson’s Good Neighbor Fund that provides "last resort" grants to help pay the energy bills of local residents in need who have exhausted all other forms of public and private utility assistance.
Other customer assistance programs include Deferred Payment Agreements that extend past due amounts over time while allowing customers to stay current with future bills and Budget Billing that divides a home’s average annual energy bill into 11 even monthly payments, with the 12th adjusted up or down depending on usage and market prices.
For more information on HEAP eligibility requirements and benefits, visit www.CentralHudson.com/HEAP or http://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/program.asp; and for more on all of Central Hudson's assistance and billing programs, visit www.CentralHudson.com, and click on "My Account."