Weekly Deals: Get Help with Heating Bills, Home Weatherization

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By LATINA EMERSON, Special to The Weekly

Prices are going up on practically everything, and as colder weather arrives, this can make it difficult for many to afford the costs of heating their home. Federal and local programs are helping those who qualify with home heating bills, and some natural gas companies are offering senior and military discounts.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a federally-funded program, is back this year to assist consumers with their home energy bills and weatherizing their homes against cold weather. Local organizations, including The Salvation Army, are also aiding those in need with utility bills.

LIHEAP

LIHEAP provides financial assistance with home energy, gas or propane bills for households that meet certain income requirements. The program is designed to reduce the risk of health and safety problems such as illness, fire or disconnection. It also offers support for weatherization or minor energy-related home repairs.

Appointments will be available for senior households (65 and older) and the medically homebound starting Dec 1. All other households are eligible to apply Jan. 2.

LIHEAP appointments can be made online or by phone. To request an appointment, call 706-702-3040, if you’re a resident of Coweta, Carroll, Heard, Meriwether or Troup counties, or visit www.cafi-ga.org and select “Click Here for Energy Assistance” to schedule your appointment.

After making an appointment, applicants will bring the required documents and complete an application at a Community Action for Improvement (CAFI) Service Center. Eligibility for the program is based on income guidelines and important documents, including proof of income for all household members for the past 30 days, Social Security cards for all household members, the most recent copy of the household energy bill (gas or electric) and valid U.S.-issued photo identification.

Applicants must meet the following requirements: 1) be a U.S. citizen or legally admitted immigrant, 2) have a total gross annual household income at or below 60 percent of the State Median Income Guidelines for Georgia and 3) be responsible for paying the cost of energy bills for the household or be able to verify an energy burden. In addition, the applicant’s household energy supplier must be a registered vendor for the LIHEAP program with the Department of Human Services.

Those determined eligible to receive LIHEAP assistance will be informed of the amount of aid that will be applied to their energy bill. The LIHEAP benefit will be issued directly to the household energy supplier.

CAFI agencies process LIHEAP benefits in the order received and processing times can vary, so customers must continue to pay their bill until benefits have been issued to the household energy supplier. Applicants are served on a first-come, first served basis until funding runs out.

Home Weatherization

LIHEAP’s Home Weatherization Program helps to reduce the home energy bills of low-income households by making these homes more energy efficient. The program provides direct household repairs and energy efficient upgrades that increase the energy efficiency of homes.

To apply, visit www.cafi-ga.org and select “Click Here for Home Weatherization Application.”

Applications for the program are accepted on a rolling basis, and applicants must meet eligibility requirements. For more information, contact Community Action for Improvement at 706-884-2651.

The Salvation Army’s Project SHARE

Through Project SHARE, The Salvation Army Newnan provides emergency financial assistance to individuals and families who have experienced a sudden financial crisis, such as disasters that threaten the stability of the home. Project SHARE, one of the most successful privately funded utility assistance programs in the United States, assists with relief that often prevents utility cut-off or eviction.

To apply, those seeking assistance must contact the agency that serves their county to set up an interview appointment. Coweta County residents can contact The Salvation Army Newnan at 770-251-8181.

Applicants will be asked to provide proof of identity, residence, income and documentation that verifies the crisis. They must also live in the county to which they’re applying.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be experiencing a crisis that threatens the utility service, housing, employment, health, safety, or stability of the household or its individual members
  • Rarely experience a serious financial crisis requiring outside assistance
  • Receive meaningful and long-term relief from the threat/crisis as a result of this assistance
  • Under the circumstances, make a reasonable financial contribution toward the expenses in question

SHARE funds can’t be used to pay the following: any deposit (i.e. electricity, rent, water), phone bills, credit card bills, auto expenses (including gasoline), loans (other than qualified mortgages), debts covered by insurance, legal fees and insurance premiums.

For more information, visit https://projectshareinfo.com/get-help/where-to-apply/.

Military and Senior Discounts

SCANA Energy

SCANA Energy offers special fixed and variable residential rates for seniors and military service members. To ask about these discount rates, call 877-467-2262.

Also, customers 65 and older with an income of $24,280 per year or less are eligible for an additional discount. To apply, visit https://www.scanaenergy.com/docs/librariesprovider2/default-document-library/agl_senior_discount_form.pdf?sfvrsn=8.

True Natural Gas

True Natural Gas offers discounts for seniors 65 and older who have a total annual combined household income of $29,160 or less. They can receive a reduction in the monthly customer service charge of $5.95. The Low Income Senior Citizen monthly customer service charge is $3.45, which saves seniors $2.50 per month or $30 per year. If seniors qualify, Atlanta Gas Light will also reduce its base charges by up to $14 per month. For more information, visit https://www.truenaturalgas.com/natural-gas-discounts-for-seniors.

Gas South

Gas South offers senior and military discounts. Seniors over 65 may qualify for a 2 cent per therm discount and a lower customer service fee. The discount is available on fixed and variable rate natural gas plans. Eligible seniors will automatically receive this discount when they sign up for service and enter their birthdate. For more information, visit https://www.gassouth.com/rates-plans/senior-rates-and-discounts.

Also, seniors with a total annual combined household income of $29,160 or less are eligible for a monthly discount of up to $14 on their Atlanta Gas Light base charge. To complete the application, visit https://www.atlantagaslight.com/content/dam/southern-co-gas/agl/pdfs/energy-assistance/senior-citizen/21758_AGL_SeniorEnergyAssistance_application_english.pdf.

Active military and veterans will get a 2 cent per therm discount on their natural gas rate by using the promo code MILITARY. The discount is available on fixed and variable rate natural gas plans. For more information, visit https://www.gassouth.com/rates-plans/military-rates-and-discounts.

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