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, and new this year, gas and electric utility arrears assistance grants of up to $10,000 per household. Both HEAP grants and Regular Arrears Supplement (RAS) program grants are available through local Department of Social Services (DSS) offices. Applications for HEAP are also available at Offices for the Aging and online at mybenefits.ny.gov.
“We are pleased that additional assistance is available for families in our community 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 HEAP grants and use electricity or natural gas as their primary heating source could receive a HEAP grant of $350 or more toward their utility bill, depending on family income and size guidelines. For example, a family of four with natural gas heating and an annual income of $62,988 would qualify for a $350 grant.
Central Hudson customers who receive HEAP grants or qualify for other assistance programs will receive additional bill credits for up to 12 months on their Central Hudson 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 $30 per month; while a Tier 1 customer who has electric heating can receive a credit of almost $40 each month. Customers with lower incomes who qualify for higher tiers could be eligible for larger bill credits.
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.”
Customers who heat with non-utility heating fuels should 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 Oct. 1, 2021, and Mar. 15, 2022, or until funding is exhausted. Emergency HEAP grants will be available between Jan. 3, 2022, and Mar. 15, 2022. 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, 2022.
New This Year
The Regular Arrears Supplement program is a new program providing up to $10,000 in utility arrears assistance to eligible households who are unable to pay their unpaid electric and/or gas utility arrears. This program is open to homeowners and renters and can apply to all arrears, including those accrued prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. This program only applies to electricity and natural gas, and not deliverable fuels such as home heating oil or propane. It is currently available and will remain open to qualified customers until Sept. 30, 2022 or until funding is exhausted.
In addition to Central Hudson’s bill discounts for customers receiving HEAP grants, these bill discounts are now also provided to customers who receive Lifeline; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Medicaid; Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Federal Public Housing Assistance; Veterans Pension or Survivors Pension; and certain programs for Native Americans. This program provides a monthly bill credit for up to 12 consecutive months.
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.
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."
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