Energy Assistance Programs for Income-Eligible Residents

Drowning in Heating and Electric Bills?

Energy costs are unpredictable and sometimes there’s just not enough cash on hand to get through the winter.When that happens, there is no shame in asking for help. There are many programs in our region designed to make sure no one is left in the cold.

What Energy Assistance is Available?

There are several assistance programs available, intended to ease the energy burden for low income families. These assistance programs are accessible to income eligible households through an application process that can be lengthy and confusing. Nonetheless, receiving assistance toward energy costs is essential for many families and there is help available to navigate the process. The following types of assistance are available to help afford energy costs:

Fuel assistance is money to help pay for heating costs, and you don’t have to pay it back. The most common program is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) available nationwide and run through local agencies (see below), however there are often local fuel assistance funds available through local nonprofits or community groups. Funds are typically distributed based on household income, energy costs, heating degree days, and housing type.

Electric assistance provides eligible customers with a discount on their monthly electric bill. This program is usually run by your electric company and funded in part by donations from other electric customers.

Weatherization assistance is meant to be a long-term solution. Air sealing, insulation, and other cost-effective energy conservation measures are installed in a home – often at no cost to the homeowner. The result is lower energy bills for years to come. There can be a long wait list (several years in some cases) so it’s best to get on the list as soon as possible!

Crisis fuel assistance is available for households who are very close to running out of fuel or who have run out of fuel and cannot buy more. The income eligibility threshold for crisis fuel is higher than for fuel assistance, so households experiencing situational financial struggles can take advantage of this benefit.

 

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Do-It-Yourself

DIY tips to help you reduce energy costs.

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Financing

Lower rates for weatherization projects.

Heating Fuel Assistance

Assisting income-eligible residents with heating costs; available to homeowners AND renters.

Vermont Fuel Assistance

Three ways to apply:

  1. Online: dcf.vermont.gov/mybenefits/apply
  2. Over-the-phone: 800-479-6151
  3. In-person at your local district office

 

Crisis Fuel Assistance

Did you run out of fuel or are about to run out of fuel and can’t afford to buy more? Crisis Fuel Assistance can help you with a heating crisis during the winter months.

How to apply:

Apply through Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA)

You must apply in person, call first to find out what documents to bring. 

  • Brattleboro: 15 Grove Street , 802-254-2795
  • Springfield: 107 Park Street, Suite 2, 802-885-6153
  • Westminster: 91 Buck drive,  802-722-4575
  • White River Junction: 226 Holiday Drive, Suite 24, 802-295-5215.

 

New Hampshire Fuel Assistance

To apply:

Grafton County – Apply through Tri-County Cap – Three ways to apply

  1. Call the Grafton County office at 603-968-3560
  2. Mail-in an application (download the application here)
  3. Attend a Tri-County Cap Outreach Days – hosted throughout the fall in Lebanon to help residents with their applications. You MUST call 603-968-3560 to set up an appointment on an Outreach Day.

Sullivan County – Apply through Southwestern Community Services

  • Call 603-542-9528 to set up an appointment.

Not eligible for fuel assistance? There may be other programs that can help

Neighbor Helping Neighbor
This program provides funds for utility energy assistance (electric or natural gas) to needy individuals who are experiencing hardships, have disconnects pending, and are ineligible for help from the Fuel Assistance Program. There are no income restrictions, but there must be an active disconnect notice from the utility company or a shut-off notice for non-payment to qualify. Apply through Southwestern Community Services by calling 603-542-9528.

Senior Energy Assistance Program
The Senior Energy Assistance Program (SEAS) provides energy assistance funds in an amount of up to $270 per elderly household for individuals, 60 years of age or older, who are over income under the low-income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This program secures and maintains maximum independence and dignity in a home environment for elderly individuals capable of self-care with appropriate supportive services. Apply through Southwestern Community Services by calling 603-542-9528.

Utility Assistance

Assisting income-eligible residents with utility costs; available to homeowners AND renters.

Vermont Utility Assistance

You can apply for Fuel Assistance benefits AND apply for the Utility Discount Programs!

There are currently two programs that help lower-income Vermonters afford energy for their homes:

For Green Mountain Power Customers

If eligible, you’ll get a 25% discount off your monthly electric bill. New applicants may qualify for arrears forgiveness if they owe on a past due bill.

To be eligible, you must:
1. Be a residential customer of Green Mountain Power; and
2. Have gross household income at or below 150% of federal poverty.

To apply:

  • Complete an application, you can access the application here:
  • Or call 1-800-775-0516 to request an application be mailed to you.

For Vermont Gas Customers

If eligible, you’ll get a 20% discount off your monthly natural gas bill.

To be eligible, you must:
1. Be a residential customer of Vermont Gas Systems, Inc.; and
2. Have a gross monthly household income at or below 185% of the federal poverty level.

To apply:

  • Complete an application, you can access the application here: 
  • Or call 1-800-775-0516 to request an application be mailed to you.

New Hampshire Electric Assistance

The New Hampshire Electric Assistance Program (EAP) gives eligible customers a discount on their monthly electric bills. The discount is from 8%-76% on your gross household income size and electricity usage. Customers of the following companies may apply for the discount:

  • Eversource Energy
  • Liberty Utilities
  • NH Electric Co-op
  • Unitil Energy Systems

To apply:

Grafton County – Apply through Tri-County Cap – Three ways to apply

  1. Call the Grafton County office at 603-968-3560
  2. Mail-in an application (download the application here)
  3. Attend a Tri-County Cap Outreach Days – hosted throughout the fall in Lebanon to help residents with their applications. You MUST call 603-968-3560 to set up an appointment on an Outreach Day.

Sullivan County – Apply through Southwestern Community Services

  • Call 603-542-9528 to set up an appointment.

Neighbor Helping Neighbor
This program provides funds for utility energy assistance (electric or natural gas) to needy individuals who are experiencing hardships, have disconnects pending, and are ineligible for help from the Fuel Assistance Program. There are no income restrictions, but there must be an active disconnect notice from the utility company or a shut-off notice for non-payment to qualify. Apply through Southwestern Community Services by calling 603-542-9528.

Senior Energy Assistance Program
The Senior Energy Assistance Program (SEAS) provides energy assistance funds in an amount of up to $270 per elderly household for individuals, 60 years of age or older, who are over income under the low-income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This program secures and maintains maximum independence and dignity in a home environment for elderly individuals capable of self-care with appropriate supportive services. Apply through Southwestern Community Services by calling 603-542-9528.

Weatherization Assistance

Available to income-eligible homeowners; renters are not eligible, but should encourage their landlords to connect with Vital Communities for help weatherizing the entire building.

FREE Energy Assessments and Weatherization

The Weatherization Assistance Programs in Vermont and New Hampshire offer FREE energy assessments and weatherization for income-eligible residents. Both programs tend to have a wait list, but free weatherization is worth the wait!

Check your eligibility: Vermont | New Hampshire

Call your local Community Action Program to learn more and get started:

  • Sullivan County, NH – Southwestern Community Services (603.542.9528)
  • Grafton County, NH – Tri-County Cap (603.968.3560)
  • Orange County, VT – Capstone Community Action (800.639.1053)
  • Windsor County, VT – Southeast Vermont Community Action (800.464.9951)

Target High Use (Vermont Only)

Efficiency Vermont offers free electricity saving help to Vermonters who spend a large proportion of their income on electricity, compared to most other Vermonters. To find out if you might qualify, call Efficiency Vermont’s customer support team at 888-921-5990.

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COVER Home Repair offers FREE home weatherization services to income-eligible residents within 45 mins of White River Junction (VT and NH). While not as comprehensive as the state’s “Low Income Weatherization” program, COVER’s volunteer teams often have a shorter wait list and still result in meaningful energy savings and increased comfort.

Income-Eligible Financing

Vermont’s Heat Saver Loan offers low-interest financing to low and moderate income Vermonters for energy efficient home improvements. There are other loan products offered specifically for energy improvements on both sides of the river. Learn more on our Financing Resources page.

Tips for Renters

There are many low-cost improvements a renter can install to increase the efficiency of their home. Here is a guide for renters seeking to save energy and stay warm this winter, compiled by Efficiency Vermont.

For larger investments, renters will need to talk to their landlord. You will need to connect your landlord with NHSaves or Efficiency Vermont before any efficiency improvements are installed. They’ll be able to point your landlord to rebates and other attractive products that make it financially viable to increase the efficiency of your home.