0000002615 00000 n Adjust your air conditioner setting, either manually or by installing a programmable thermostat for every degree higher, the unit will use 1 to 3 percent less electricity. Weve mentioned grace periods already, but its very important to understand these things. Pat McManamon has been a journalist for more than 25 years. The one-ninth plan allows customers to make nine equal monthly payments on the past due amount and places them on a budget plan. Its not difficult to adjust the heat and air conditioner settings to save money or turn off unused appliances and lights in uninhabited rooms. Share this webpage and the flyer below with your friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to spread the word. Consumers on this plan are required to pay their current bill, plus one-sixth of their past due balance. The last thing you want to do is let them threaten you with consequences before speaking with them.

LIHEAP helps low-income households that pay a high proportion of their income for home energy. hbbd```b``"H

If its very late, and your service has already been shut off, the company might have you post some kind of security deposit before reconnecting you to electricity. For much of 2020 and part of 2021, federal, state and even utility companies put a moratorium on shutting off the electricity. Visithereor the Cold Relief Heatline at (800) 632-8175 to find your local community action agency where you can apply for LIHEAP. Call your electric or gas utility immediately to enroll. 0000008151 00000 n Utilities also offer another way to stay on top of your bills called budget billing. One of the consequences of falling behind on utility bills is the damage it does to your credit score. !6Y Your electric or gas utility may be able to arrange a payment plan that you can afford and also check your eligibility to participate in a range of payment assistance programs (see discussion below). You can use your rewards card as your preferred payment method, rack up those points, and save on any extra transaction fees. Retrieved from, Murray, A. 0000003458 00000 n Many customers financial situations have changed during the pandemic. Why pay for power to a room when youre not in there benefiting from it? Most of the electricity used on a load of wash goes to heating the water. If your household income is between 60 to 80% of the state median income, you may be able to receive help from theGood Neighbor Energy Fund. If you choose to make your payment at an authorized payment location, you must call in a specific receipt number to the utility for same or next-day reconnection. The cost of a one-bedroom apartment's electric bill will vary based on the location, energ Like most people, youve probably never given thought as to what exactly your natural gas Arcadia is a registered trademark of Arcadia Power, Inc. Average electric bill for a one-bedroom apartment, How to calculate your electric bill from reading your meter, Connect your utility bill to your Arcadia account, Every month, youll receive a statement 72 hours before your bill is due, Then well automatically process your payment and send it to your utility company, Need to delay a payment? A big part of the federal assistance comes through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. Customers who are interested in installing solar panels or enrolling with community solar programs should visit the AGs Office FAQ with consumer tips at, LIHEAP is not available in the summer months. Please see below for contact numbers for each investor-owned electric and gas utility.

The examples from one state illustrate why its wise to seek local help and know your options, and why its logical that a sound first step is to contact the utility company itself. Retrieved from, N.A. Low-income families can find help through various government or private programs. Utility companies also will work with those who are sincere about paying. If a small business enrolls in an electric or gas payment plan with its investor-owned utility company and the business makes its payments, it will be protected from electric or gas service disconnection for the duration of the payment plan. Eligibility for the LIHEAP program varies by state, but generally it starts at the $19,200 income level for a one-person household (150% of the federal poverty line which was $12,880 in 2021). 2000-2022 InCharge Debt Solutions. Contact thePUCO at 1-800-686-7826 or at puco.ohio.gov. There is another option that can help you avoid late payments on your electric bill, too. 0000028840 00000 n Payment plans can help avoid service shut-offs. These are some of the organizations you could be referred to: There are many more, especially at local churches, which usually have specific ministries within the church that cater to financial crisis situations. Your Residential Utility Consumer Advocate - Electric - Natural Gas - Telephone - Water, Information believed accurate but not guaranteed. (2018, December) Low-income household energy burden varies among states efficiency can help in all of them.

Check your bill or agreement with your electricity company to understand what will happen if you are late with a payment. The AGO issued a 2018reportand2019 update,and2021 updatethat found that Massachusetts customers typically lost money on competitive electric supply. ~6[=)\9+.e~6a j4X67t)P^ !0UZNfeZiiqS^FmfTd |g]`h (((cll[@8 Consider the state of Ohio. All regulated electric and natural gas companies are required to offer the one-third plan during the winter heating season (Nov. 1 April 15). Take two minutes to connect your utility account to Arcadia and get clean energy and savings. Companies are not required to conduct an in-person visit prior to disconnecting service to a residence with a smart meter and are permitted instead to contact the customer by phone or text message. One late payment can lead to more late payments, and soon the minimum payments due are too high for you to keep up with. And it tells you what to expect the cost to be every month. | 501(c)(3) Non-profit Credit Counseling Organization. EMAIL: occ@occ.ohio.gov.

Like many bills, getting in front of the situation can benefit you greatly. Youll never pay a late fee again. Competitive suppliers often charge higher rates than your utilitys rates. What are your billing options? Frequently Asked Questions about Water Utilities During COVID-19. Check out the OCC Fuel Funds fact sheet (. If your service has been disconnected for more than ten business days, the utility may consider you as a new customer and: The Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP) provides funding for energy efficiency home inspections and repairs that can save consumers energy and money. Arcadia offers automatic online bill pay for its users, and there are several powerful features that can help you if you struggle to keep up with your payments. A list of authorized payment locations can be obtained through your utility. There are steps you can take to make electricity more affordable in your home. This could be a more stable bill, or a bill that fluctuates depending on the time of year. In the meantime, take advantage of the aid that is out there. Do not be shy about applying for assistance. 0000011523 00000 n A .mass.gov website belongs to an official government organization in Massachusetts. 0000010821 00000 n Rules and laws govern shutoffs vary by state. Retrieved from, Smith, T. (2021, November 8) Winter Heating Bills Loom as the Next Inflation Threat. During winter, open up the drapes and blinds to let some warmth into a cool home. Many utility companies offer financial help to those in need. If your household income is 60% or less of the state median income, you are eligible for LIHEAP. endstream endobj 497 0 obj <>/Metadata 39 0 R/Pages 494 0 R/StructTreeRoot 67 0 R/Type/Catalog/ViewerPreferences<>>> endobj 498 0 obj <>/ExtGState<>/Font<>/ProcSet[/PDF/Text/ImageC]/Shading<>/XObject<>>>/Rotate 0/StructParents 0/TrimBox[0.0 0.0 612.0 792.0]/Type/Page>> endobj 499 0 obj <>stream For relief, check into government help, charity organizations and even utility company programs that will help you catch up. NA (2021, November 5) The SaveOnEnergy.com Electricity Bill Report: Who paid the most, least? 0000005453 00000 n Also ask your electric or gas utility if you qualify for an arrearage forgiveness program or any other payment assistance program. And what about grace periods? Utilities are encouraged to work out an extended payment plan with you. Customers should consider the following: Customers who are interested in installing solar panels or enrolling with community solar programs should visit the AGs Office FAQ with consumer tips at mass.gov/ago/solar. Know your limits so that you can avoid more severe damage to your financial situation. When facing a disconnection of service, certain requirements must be followed by the utility company to ensure you have an opportunity to work out a payment plan and avoid losing your electric or natural gas service. 0000009650 00000 n Failure to pay the bill and the utility company has followed proper disconnection notification procedures and other requirements; Relocated from the premises or requested that service be disconnected; Repairs are needed, including scheduled maintenance, or a dangerous condition exists; or. h[[o9+z `se9d=(&#adUxZ%xKuX; \TAJj=FSm?uYFtHh"qht"N{P#1BwCN4N0YihdcD8 W8QA@Hpx79=3c+@/#h 'vKgi];\E Ohio, for example, requires a 14-day notice before electricity is disconnected. Retrieved from, Jones, M. (2021, April 15) How to Get Emergency Help With Utility Bills. Your water heater may be next in line for costing you money. Use any time you have to reach out to the utility company itself, or agencies or organizations that offer help. A penalty for a late electric bill is common with many utility companies. If you participate in other federal benefit programs, including SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), SSI (Supplemental Security Income), TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). To learn about these payment programs, and whether they are offered by your utility, please contact your utility. If you would like to continue helping us improve Mass.gov, join our user panel to test new features for the site. 0000008991 00000 n 0000024305 00000 n Join our mailing list for monthly tips on ways to manage your finances! Are Subscription Monitoring Apps Worth It? Retrieved from. 0000028879 00000 n Generally, this fee is between $15 and $52. If this is the case, know your states laws: these rates are regulated in some states, so know beforehand what you will have to come up with before speaking with the utility company. The one-third plan allows households to pay one third of the total balance due each month (past due amount plus current charges) during the winter heating season. n]umlx->]pUqiG$d,A= Consumers can follow OCC on Twitter @OCC4Consumers. (2018) 2018 Average Monthly Bill Residential.

If you face disconnection and cannot work out an individualized payment plan, electric and natural gas companies must make available the following payment arrangements: If you notify your utility and pay the amount due and any additional reconnection charges, service must be restored by the end of the next business day. In addition to the rights and resources listed in this fact sheet, Congress has passed several relief bills in response to the pandemic, which provide utility and rental assistance to eligible consumers. The average electric bill in the United States in late 2021 was $124.93 per month (up from $113.59 in 2020) and ranged from a low of $84.67 per month in Utah to a high of $178.02 in Hawaii. If you get your electricity or gas from a competitive supplier, you can contact your supplier to negotiate a lower rate. Bdwo elektrisite w yo ap monte byen wo peryd lete sa a. The American Rescue Plan provided an additional $4.5 billion that is available until September 2022. Information about other local assistance programs may be available by contacting your local Community Action Agency (CAA). Electricity and Gas are essential servicesthats why it is important that customers know their rights and where they can go for help if they need it.

) or https:// means youve safely connected to the official website. Reach out. Ohioans can apply for assistance through their local Community Action Agency. This notice can either appear as a message on your bill or be sent separately. More languages to come - check back soon. The price of natural gas, which many use to heat their homes, increased by 60% from December of 2020 to 2021, and homes that use electricity for heat expected an increase of 15% in price. He also can balance a checkbook and keep track of investments with Quicken quite adeptly. Retrieved from, NA (ND) Your Guide to Energy Disconnection and Reconnection. To find the CAA in your area, search by county at www.energyhelp.ohio.gov. Contact your city or county to learn more. Do late bills affect your credit? (ND) Help with bills. However, you cannot be disconnected or denied reconnection based on the past due bills of a former customer who no longer resides in the home. Many cold-weather states do not allow shutoffs in winter. Typically, an electric bill is issued 21 days after the meter is read.

0000006278 00000 n Applications for LIHEAP for the 2022-2023 heating season can likely be submitted beginning in the late summer or early fall and throughout the winter heating season. In addition to the orders by states for utility companies to suspend disconnections during COVID-19, some states have laws preventing utility companies from shutting off utilities under other circumstances. The one-ninth plan allows consumers to pay off what is owed in nine equal payments while joining the budget billing plan. But, if you have a bad history, or you miss two or three payments, thats when you start getting notified. We want all Massachusetts residents to be aware of thenew and expanded programs available to assist them in paying their home heating bills. It happens, and it can be frustrating. If you are a small business customer that receives electric or gas service through a municipal utility, call your municipal utility to see what programs they offer to help avoid disconnection. In addition to requesting assistance from your electric or gas utility, residential customers should also contact their local community action agency, as there may be funds available to assist households who earn more than 60 % of the state median income, but still need assistance paying their bills. You are also encouraged to contact the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) at 1-800-282-0880 or visit their website at www.development.ohio.gov. Its important to get ahead of the process if youre behind on payments. ODOD administers the HEAP andElectric PIPP Plus programs. 0000008428 00000 n Residential customers making payments under payment plans with their investor-owned electric or gas utility will remain protected from shut-off as long as they make payments under the payment schedule. The Community Action Council, which has been helping low-income families since 1964. Dialing 2-1-1 is the financial help equivalent of 9-1-1 for this type of emergency. Consumers can also contact the Public Utility Commission of Ohio (PUCO) about utility assistance programs or to get help resolving a dispute or complaint with a utility company. Will they turn off your electricity? Electric companies know that bad situations can hit good people. In the summer shut the curtains, or pull the blinds closed. 0000001860 00000 n The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel is an equal opportunity employer and provider of services. Mass.gov is a registered service mark of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Would you like to provide additional feedback to help improve Mass.gov? In 2019 the 211 line made more than 2.1 million connections to resources to help people pay utility bills or find low-cost or free services. You can also go towww.heatinghelpma.orgto find more information about your local community action agency and eligibility. His experience has mainly been in sports, but the world of athletics requires knowledge of business and economics. This deposit cannot exceed one months estimated charges plus 30 percent. 590 0 obj <>stream Your account would then be turned over to a collection agency, and your credit history will to document all of this. An increase in your homes energy efficiency should result in lower utility bills over time. Small business customers may also qualify for payment plans that include arrearage forgiveness. They could even send someone to your home to audit your energy usage to help you try to save on your electric bill. At all other times, if you are experiencing financial hardshipandone of the following applies, your electric or gas cannot be shut off without permission from the Department of Public Utilities: In addition, payment plans are available to avoid shut off and manage utility bills. Lets take a look at what happens when you miss a payment, how late can you be on your electric bill, and ways that you can avoid it happening again in the future. Contact can be in person, over the telephone or a hand-delivered written notice. 0 This number is the financial help equivalent of 911. Fortunately, there are agencies and organizations that will provide assistance. They are prepared to work with people in various financial circumstances. These programs are designed to address a number of challenges, including paying the utility bills. page. Call local churches and social service agencies and ask if they have emergency/crisis funds available to pay utilities. LIHEAP can help pay heating or cooling bills (not water or sewer), and help pay for low-cost home improvements such as weatherization to lower utility bills. In other words, it allows you to budget for the electric bill rather than adjusting during peak usage season. 449 0 obj <> endobj But in times of trouble think the COVID-19 pandemic keeping the lights on can be a real struggle. If you qualify as income eligible, there are several programs, including: (1) Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a federally-funded program that helps Massachusetts residents pay their heating bills; (2) the low-income discount rate program; and (3) arrearage management programs (AMPs) for investor-owned electric and gas utility customers. Many electric and natural gas companies offer their own energy assistance programs sometimes known as fuel funds. The audit may give you specific actions that can reduce your bill. %%EOF 449 41 Do you have questions regarding your utilities, disconnection or reconnection, or consumerassistance? 0000024476 00000 n hb``g``6c`a`y @16 pA}fQ|1@TX)(0Zi 3x;(N 5U/e~=_ -AAr00NX bb!Hbzk5{@*E6L t. DHCD has a toll-free hotline,1-800-632-8175, that is multi-language and will quickly direct you to your local community action agency that can help answer additional questions about eligibility and process your LIHEAP application. 0000002729 00000 n Disconnection can only be made during normal business hours. If you need multiple copies for an organization or group, please contact a member of our outreach team. 0000023595 00000 n 0000002052 00000 n When youreunable to pay your bills, the one option you want to avoid is using your credit card. In addition to your utility, you can contact the Department of Public Utilitiesat877-886-5066, or completetheir online complaint form. A lock icon ( Retrieved from, N.A. Same is true with kitchen or bathroom sinks. This helps avoid a huge utility bill increase in winter months in the north, or summer months for air conditioning in the south. There is no established rule, but it will be clear that the situation is dire long before they actually shut off your electricity. The debt you pay this month could get compounded with interest charged by your card company and make the situation worse. You can alsofile a consumer complaintwith the Attorney General's Consumer Advocacy and Response Division or by calling our hotline at 617-727-8400. OCC urges any consumer who is behind on their utility bills to contact their utility company as soon as possible to make payment arrangements. You can request same day reconnection if your payment is made, and the utility is notified by 12:30 p.m. Consumers are encouraged to contact ODOD, their Community Action Agency (at www.energyhelp.ohio.gov), Job and Family Services agency, municipal government, and county commissioners about the availability of these and other resources. Turn off the lights and fans when you leave a room. If a lower rate is not available, ask about canceling your contract so that you may return to buying your electric and gas supply from your utility (often called basic service). 0000023748 00000 n For the 2021-2022 winter heating season, eligible PIPP Plus customers with past due amounts greater than $175 may be able to use the WRO and have any remaining unpaid balance placed in their PIPP arrearage. If your utility company reports your situation to the credit bureaus, your score will take a hit. Ha n tin in ca qu v ang tng vt trong ma h ny: Di y l nhng g qu v c th lm.

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