Assistance available for winter energy bills

Published 5:12 pm Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Winter is approaching, and of course that means heating bills will be on the rise. Those who require financial assistance with their Delta Gas and other bills may have options, offered by Delta Gas as well as other organizations.

According to a press release, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, help with winter bills is available through Delta’s Energy Assistance program, the Kentucky Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), as well as other local and national sources.

Rita Black, director of customer relations for Peoples, Delta’s parent company, shed some light on Delta’s energy assistance program.

“It’s changed a little this year, there are more customers that are eligible because the income limits are higher,” Black said. “The benefits are a little bigger.”

According to Black, eligible customers can receive a $150 for January, February, and March for a total of $450.

“That really helps those winter gas bills,” Black said. “The best way to get started is to contact your local Community Action Agency, or you can call Delta using the phone number on your bill.”

Black said the Community Action Agency also takes applications for other energy assistance programs such as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

LIHEAP eligibility is based on monthly income.

“A monthly income for a senior of $1,595, that would qualify them for a LIHEAP grant,” Black said. “If they have a little more than that, they would still qualify for Delta’s program, because Delta’s program goes up to $2,127 in monthly income for one person.”

Black explained a family of four could make up to $52,000 a year and still qualify for Delta’s program.

“Basically, we look at how many people are in the house and what is the total income for the house,” Black said. “We have a chart that we use, and LIHEAP does the same thing…based on that information, we can tell you whether you qualify for LIHEAP, and if you qualify for LIHEAP you definitely qualify for Delta’s program. If you’re a little bit over for LIHEAP, you may still qualify for Delta’s program.”

Black added it is a good idea to maximize the amount of assistance available.

“Especially this year,” Black said. “If people are struggling with job losses, their income is down because they’re not working as many hours, things like that, they definitely need the help.”

For those needing assistance with their heat bill, it may be a good idea to check into these programs.

“My message for all customers is we want you to stay warm this winter,” Black said. “We don’t want people to lose their gas service…give us a call. Many times people fall behind and they’re embarrassed or concerned about calling, we want to help. Please call us. You can learn more about programs like this, also setting up payment plans and other ways of managing your bill.”

According to the release, additional avenues that may help include the Team Kentucky Fund, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, and the Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds distributed to local governments. A listing of the Community Action locations is available at commaction.org/contact. To learn how to apply for Delta’s EAP, LIHEAP, and other available funding, contact your Community Action Agency at 606-337-3044.