There are a number of programs available to help with your natural gas costs.
Most suppliers offer budget billing, which allows you to pay a fixed amount each month. Budget billing averages bills out over 12 months, so each monthly bill will be the same amount until the total bill is paid. The company may adjust the bill four times a year, up or down, depending on the customer's use. Residential customers may contact their natural gas utility and/or supplier and request budget billing at any time.
Any customer may choose to use budget billing. To qualify for some of the following programs, your income must be below a certain amount. These income limits can vary from company to company and from year to year. Call your natural gas utility to find out more information about qualifying for these programs.
Consumer Assistance Program (CAP)
The Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) provides an alternative to traditional collection methods for low-income, payment-troubled utility customers. Generally, customers enrolled in a CAP agree to make monthly payments to the utility based on household size and gross income. Customers make regular monthly payments, which may be for an amount that is less than the current natural gas bill for utility service. In exchange for regular payments, some companies may also reduce the amount consumers already owe. Besides regular monthly payments, customers need to follow certain rules to remain eligible for continued participation. CAP customers are able to choose a competitive supplier, but the discount they receive in CAP may be greater than the discounted rate offered by the supplier. Call your natural gas utility for more information.
Customer Assistance Referral and Evaluation Services (CARES)
The Customer Assistance Referral and Evaluation Services (CARES) program helps customers with special needs find ways to pay their utility bills. Special needs include family emergencies, divorce, unemployment or medical emergencies.
Hardship funds provide cash assistance to utility customers to help them pay their utility bills and offer assistance grants to customers who cannot qualify for other financial assistance programs, or to those who still have a critical need for assistance when there are no other resources. The funds make payments directly to companies on behalf of eligible customers. Contact your natural gas utility for more information.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
A federal program that provides financial assistance to low-income households for home energy bills, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides both cash and crisis benefits. Cash benefits help low-income consumers pay for their home energy bills, while crisis payments help meet emergency home energy needs. For more information, contact the Department of Human Services.
Low-Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP)
The Low-Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP) helps low-income residential customers lower the amount of energy used each month. Typically, the company may install energy-saving features or make energy efficiency improvements in customers' homes to help reduce bills. Contact your natural gas utility for more information.
Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) enables low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy-efficient. Pennsylvania's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is administered through the Department of Community and Economic Development.