file000914903923Utility Bill Assistance Programs in Alabama

This article highlights various public assistance programs offered to Alabama residents for utility payments.

Alabama residents who find themselves strapped for cash or unable to pay their utility bills have several options available to help. The federal government, the State of Alabama and the utility companies offer several assistance programs.

The largest program in Alabama is commonly known as LIHEAP. It is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2013 Alabama was awarded about $47 million to help low income residents who were 150% of the poverty level. The average assistance in 2009 was $348 and almost 110,000 families were helped during 2010. People who feel they may qualify for LIHEAP assistance should contact their local utility company to be directed to the agency in their area that oversees the program.

 

Alabama Power, Alagasco and Mobile Gas all give discounts on their monthly base charge for qualifying low income families. These discounts range from $14.50 to $8 per month.

Projects Share and Warm are funded by people voluntarily donating an additional amount when they pay their utility bill. In most cases distribution of money is administered by the American Red Cross and usually is designated as a one-time assistance as opposed to monthly help. Some utilities, such as Decatur Utilities, use the fund to help people who do not qualify for LIHEAP. Hartselle Utilities includes people who may be experiencing a health crisis to the list of eligible applicants.

A long term benefit of reduced utility bills may be obtained through proper weatherization of a home and taking energy reducing measures. To that end, the Alabama Weatherization Assistance Program is funded by a grant from the U. S. Department of Energy. Qualified residents with incomes not exceeding 200% of the poverty level may apply for assistance with the agency overseeing their state region. Region offices and phone numbers can be found at http://www.adeca.state.al.us/Divisions/energy/Documents/Wx%20Agency%20List-090811.pdf.

The State of Alabama also provides the Neighbor Helping Neighbor Fund to help with home weatherization and reducing energy usage. The fund is administered by The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. A person may call 334-242-5100 to find out more information about the eligibility requirements of this fund. Common uses of the fund are adding insulation and replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient fluorescent bulbs.

People who need help with their utility bills have several options. Removing monthly charges and receiving payments on their bill are options available to those who qualify. Contacting a local utility is an easy way to see what programs are available for an applicant.

 

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