Are you living in Massachusetts and looking for help paying your electricity or utility bills? Believe it or not, there are several federal, state, and/or local government programs available to provide Massachusetts residents with electric bill assistance.
The biggest and most well known program available is known as Fuel Assistance, otherwise known as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This program is available to individuals and families who are considered low income based on their annual gross income.
Benefits available through LIHEAP include help covering the costs of your utility payments, costs of weatherization or upgrades to make your home energy efficient, emergency furnace repair, heating system repairs, and possibly even discounts on other utilities.
For information on benefits and applying, call 1-800-632-8175.
The Good Neighbor Energy Fund
If you are facing a sudden, short term emergency and you do not qualify for other assistance programs, the Good Neighbor Energy fund could be a life saver for you. The fund is a joint effort between utility companies and the Salvation Army, and provides funds for those in need to pay their winter heating fuel and other energy bills.
Massachusetts residents who do NOT qualify for governemnt assistance programs are eligible for this fund. Benefits are limited to $300 per household per season.
To learn more about this fund contact your local Salvation Army branch, or call the general toll-free number at 1-800-334-3047.
The Citizens Energy Heat Assistance Program
The Citizens Energy Heat Assistance Program is another private program providing relief to low income residents. There is a program for those who use heating oil, and another for those who use natural gas.
To learn more about the Citizens Energy programs, call 1-877-563-4645.
Arrearage Management Programs (AMPs) and Utility Payment Plans
If you have fallen behind on your utility payments and are unable to get caught back up, you may be able to contact your utility company directly and receive help.
Most utility companies offer plans to help you catch up on back payments or even forgive overdue bills in what are known as arrearage management programs or AMPs.
You may also be eligible for a utility payment plan which will allow you to pay your overdue bill over several smaller monthly payments. For information on AMP’s or utility payment plans, contact your utility company directly. You can be matched with the appropriate Massachusetts electric bill assistance program based on your initial qualifications.
Long is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Industrial Relations. He subsequently received his Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. His Certificate in Financial Planning was issued by Florida State University.
Long has achieved the Accredited Credit Counselor and Accredited Financial Counselor certifications through the Association for Financial Counseling, Planning and Education. Long originally achieved the Certified Credit Counselor designation through the National Institute for Financial Education.
In addition to years of nonprofit leadership, Long has been an innovator in the field of volunteer tax return preparation programs. He assists volunteer associations and nonprofit organizations who seek to integrate credit counseling and asset-building programs with free personal income tax preparation. His approach to using free credit reports as both an incentive and a screening tool for placement into asset-building programs has been shared with members of the National Community Tax Coalition, the EITC-Carolinas Initiative of MDC, Inc. and nonprofit groups across the Carolinas.
Long assists members of our armed forces in the Carolinas, Iowa, Rhode Island, Georgia and Germany with financial readiness. Please support our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors!
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."