Or you could apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and get the government to pay part of your bill.
If you’ve researched ways to lower your electric bill, you may have come to this conclusion: It can be a lot of work. Some say you should do things like buying a programmable thermostat to keep your AC from running when you’re not home. Others say you should install insulation, seal leaks around doors and windows, and make other home improvements that could cost quite a pretty penny.
Besides investing time and money in making your home more energy-efficient, sacrificing comfort is another suggested method of paying less for electricity. But do you really want to freeze or sweat to death in your house just to save a couple of bucks a month? Probably not.
With that being said, what’s an easier way to pay less for electricity that doesn’t involve a ton of work, investing money you don’t have, or giving up your comfort? The answer is LIHEAP, which is a program from the federal government that can help pay the heating or cooling costs that can make your energy bill skyrocket.
An Overview of LIHEAP
As you noticed in the intro, LIHEAP stands for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. As you can tell by its name, the program is intended to help low-income households with their energy bills.
Unfortunately, you cannot depend on LIHEAP to handle all of your utility bills, which means that besides any cooling or heating costs, the following will still be your responsibility:
- Water (unless it’s somehow linked to your AC usage)
To give you an example of how specific the program is, let’s say you use gas in your home. If you do not use it for heating purposes (usually in the winter when it’s cold), and you only use it for hot water or cooking, LIHEAP will not pay that portion of your bill.
Should you qualify for the program, LIHEAP will pay your utility company directly. It is not intended to be used every single month, either. Although this can change depending on your location, you can usually apply for LIHEAP benefits up to three times annually. In other words, don’t expect utility assistance every month.
The federal government may be in charge of funding LIHEAP, but the program’s administration is handled on a state level. As such, the eligibility requirements may differ according to where you live. Regardless, here are some prerequisites you’ll likely have to meet to be eligible:
- Be a resident of the state you’re applying in.
- Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or qualified alien.
- Have a gross income in your household below 150 percent of the federal poverty level.
- Be responsible for the payment of your household’s cooling or heating bills.
Applying for Benefits
To see if you officially qualify for LIHEAP so you can apply for benefits, contact your local low-income energy office.