News Room

News Room

Energy Assistance Programs Available for Reconnecting Service, Weatherization, Managing Winter Heating Bills

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Canonsburg, PA – With dangerously cold temperatures gripping the region,  we are urging customers to use the many payment assistance and energy-efficiency programs available to manage their winter heating bills effectively to stay warm and safe.

We offer payment options to customers with limited or low income, customers who are facing special circumstances, or those who need to re-establish their gas service.

“While we are pleased to see that natural gas prices continue to remain low and stable, we understand that many of our customers are still struggling with their entire household budgets,” said Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania Manager of Universal Services Deb Davis.  “There are several programs and options available to Columbia customers; however the first step we ask every customer to take is to contact your utility company at the first sign you may have trouble paying your bill. The sooner we hear about an issue or problem, the sooner we can explore assistance options.”

We want to remind customers that approximately half of their monthly bill is the cost of natural gas, which is passed directly to customers on a dollar-for-dollar basis, with no mark up or profit. The greatest opportunity for customers to reduce their monthly bill is through weatherization and energy efficiency solutions.

Programs available to Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania customers include:

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
We serve as a link to federal energy assistance funds which provide help with residential heating costs. The funds, available until April 6, 2018, are distributed as energy grants. These energy grants do not have to be repaid by the customer. Guidelines change with each new heating season and are based on household size and income level. Customers are encouraged to apply before funds run out. For more information or to apply for LIHEAP, call the LIHEAP Hotline at 1-800-272-2714.

Customer Assistance Program (CAP)
Our Customer Assistance Program offers affordable payment plans and arrearage forgiveness, for customers with low incomes and long-term bill payment difficulties. Columbia’s CAP features reduced monthly payments for current bills for income-eligible customers, as well as debt forgiveness for prior balances. For more information or to apply for CAP, call Columbia at 1-800-537-7431.

Customer Assistance, Referral & Evaluation Services (CARES)
Our CARES program helps customers who have a true inability to pay their utility bills and are facing additional challenges. CARES representatives provide referrals to agencies that may be able to assist the customer as well as provide information on fuel assistance programs. For more information on CARES, call Columbia at 1-800-537-7431.

Dollar Energy Fund
The Dollar Energy Fund is an independent, non-profit organization that provides assistance to people who are on low or fixed incomes. The fund receives donations from utility customers that are matched by the utilities. For more information or to apply for the Dollar Energy Fund, call 1-800-537-7431.

WarmWise: Low Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP)
Our Low Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP) provides income-eligible customers with a no-charge home weatherization assistance to help reduce annual heating costs. LIURP identifies improved home weatherization opportunities in the home and then installs the most cost effective measures to reduce consumption. A clean and tune-up of existing heating equipment is also included with this program. For more information about LIURP, call 1-800-537-7431.

WarmWise: Audits & Rebates
Audits & Rebates is a free program available to qualifying Columbia Gas customers. Audits & Rebates offers a free, comprehensive in-home energy audit identifying and recommending energy saving improvements throughout the home. Customers can also choose to take advantage of rebates for energy saving improvements. To get started and schedule your free home energy audit, call 1-866-956-0308.  

CRISIS – Emergency Energy Assistance
A component of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), CRISIS Emergency Energy Assistance provides funds for customers in emergency situations and in danger of losing their heat. Emergency situations include being without heat, imminent utility service termination and the need for repair of broken heating equipment or leaking lines. For more information on CRISIS funds, call 1-800-272-2714.

Security Deposit Assistance Fund (S-DAF)
Security Deposit Assistance Fund (S-DAF) is a grant program that will help to pay a security deposit when establishing service with Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania. Customers do not have to pay back the grant. Grants may be awarded one time within a twelve month period and are subject to income eligibility requirements. If assistance is needed in paying the security deposit, please call Advantage Credit Counseling Services at 1-866-224-0064 to see if you qualify and learn more about Columbia's S-DAF program.

Budget Payment Plan
Available to all Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania customers, the Budget Payment Plan allows customers to spread annual gas costs evenly across the year instead of paying account balances each month, helping to eliminate high winter bills. The budget year begins in May, but customers can enroll any time during the year. For more information on Budget Payment Plans or to apply, call 1-888-460-4332.

Media Contact:
Lee Gierczynski
(724) 416-6015
lgierczynski@nisource.com