THIS IS LAST YEAR'S POST. FOR 2011-2012 INFORMATION, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
There's good news for individuals and families seeking assistance with utility payments in Ohio. The new PIPP Plus program begins November 1st, along with the Emergency Home Energy Assistance (E-HEAP) or "Winter Crisis Program".
PIPP Plus replaces the old Percentage of Income Payment Plan program (PIPP), which seeks to provide an affordable payment option for gas and electric service to low-income households. The new program offers some significant improvements over the old one. For instance, under the traditional PIPP program, if a consumer owed $100 on their gas or electric bill for the month, they might have to pay only $10 to retain service and avoid a shutoff, but the unpaid $90 balance would accrue as debt with the utility company. Under the new PIPP Plus program, if the consumer pays their PIPP Plus amount on time, the remainder of the bill is forgiven permanently. There are also opportunities for households with existing overdue balances to gradually have those balances forgiven if they make their PIPP Plus payments on time each month for a period of months.
For more information on PIPP Plus programs, click here, or call HEAP toll-free at (800) 282-0880 (7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday). To watch a short video on the new PIPP Plus program, click here.
The Winter Crisis (E-HEAP) program "provides assistance once per heating season to eligible households that are disconnected, threatened with disconnection, or have less than a 10-day supply of bulk fuel." Applications for the Winter Crisis Program will be accepted November 1, 2010 through March 31, 2011.
For information on the Winter Crisis Program in Ohio, including eligibility requirements, click here or call HEAP toll-free at (800) 282-0880 (7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday).
In order to apply for either or both of these programs, residents must contact their local authorized provider agency. New applicants must complete some paperwork; returning PIPP applicants must re-verify their income annually.
To locate your local Emergency HEAP/Winter Crisis Program agency in Ohio, click here.
Residents of Summit County should contact Akron Summit Community Action, Inc. at 330-376-7730.
The Regular HEAP Program, which provides a one-time credit on heating bills to eligible individuals, is also taking applications between August 1, 2010 and May 31, 2011. You may download or print an application by clicking here. Applications are also available at most libraries and other government buildings or by calling your local community action agency.
There are a number of other helpful programs for assistance with home weatherization and furnace repair (HWAP, EPP), energy assistance for senior citizens, and the Winter Reconnect Order through the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. For more information on the programs mentioned in this post as well as other programs, visit this excellent website: Ohio Winter Heating Resource Center.
Source: Ohio Department of Development and Ohio.gov.