Need Help with Your Natural Gas Utility Bill
Amidst a turbulent economy, America’s natural gas utilities are doing everything they can to keep your energy bills stable and affordable. Natural gas utilities use physical and financial tools to purchase and store gas throughout the year to try to protect customers from market disruption.
If you’re worried about how you’re going to pay your gas bill—not just today, but at any point – there are numerous programs available to help.
The primary source of federal assistance is the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP exists to help families pay for heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. Eligible participants can receive bill payment assistance, energy crisis assistance, funding for weatherization, and energy-related home repairs. There is an eligibility calculator to find out if you qualify based on household income. There is also LIHEAP contact information for your state and a separate resource for tribal contact information. Some states also have their own programs.
Many utility companies have specific programs in place to help customers struggling with energy costs. For example, Washington Gas partnered with the Salvation Army to create the Washington Area Fuel Fund, which exists to help families pay their heating bills, regardless of whether those families are Washington Gas customers or what fuel they use to heat their homes. Call your utility to find out what programs they may offer, and if you qualify.
Direct assistance isn’t the only way your natural gas utility can help. One way to lower your bills is to use less energy. You can do this by upgrading the efficiency of your appliances or by preventing heat or cold from escaping your home. Natural gas utilities spend $4.3 million per day on energy efficiency programs to help customers install tighter-fitting windows and doors, upgrade insulation and purchase increasingly efficient natural gas appliances. Ameren and Spire, St. Louis, MO region’s electric and natural gas utilities have a joint program to help residents upgrade to higher efficiency furnaces, water heaters, insulation, and other home improvements. By increasing your energy efficiency, you can significantly lower your energy costs while having a more environmentally friendly home. In addition to programs directly from your utility, the U.S. Department of Energy offers the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), which can help to pay for everything from HVAC repairs and replacements to more energy-efficient appliances.
If you’re concerned about managing your bill at any point, you can contact your utility company to discuss options around budget billing. Budget billing allows you to pay a set amount for utilities each month. This allows customers to spread costs over the course of the year, rather than having to pay significantly greater amounts during some months than others.
Natural gas utilities work every day to deliver energy and support their customers and communities. Today is no different. Contact your utility to discuss any challenges you may be having and the programs they have in place that can help.