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Consumer Utility Assistance

The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) offers fact sheets about assistance programs and disconnection protections for utility services. Listed here are consumer assistance programs provided by a variety of organizations, including utilities. Some programs provide a one-time credit toward a utility bill while others may help reduce monthly bills, establish a payment plan, or weatherize the home to make it more energy efficient. As some assistance may be based on household income, it helps to check income eligibility before applying.

Assistance Programs

These programs have income-based requirements and you can apply through your local Energy Assistance Provider or Community Action Agency:

Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

A benefit directly applied once per heating season to the main heat source or bulk fuel bill.

HEAP Winter Crisis Program (WCP)

Maintain or restore service, establish new or transfer service, help with a PIPP default or first PIPP payment.

Available Nov. – March

HEAP Summer Crisis Program (SCP)

Assists with electric utility bills, central air conditioning repairs, an air conditioning unit and/or fan purchases.

Available from July–Sept.

Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP Plus)

A year-round extended payment plan to pay electric and/or natural gas bills based on a percentage of household income.

Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP)

Assists income-eligible Ohioans to improve their home’s energy efficiency and reduce energy costs.

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  • Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a benefit directly applied once per heating season to the main heat source (electric, natural gas) or bulk fuel bill (fuel oil, propane, wood, coal). Consumers must be income eligible.
  • HEAP Winter Crisis Program (WCP) assists income-eligible Ohioans: maintain or restore service; establish new or transfer service; with a PIPP default; or first PIPP payment. WCP is available Nov.–March annually.
  • HEAP Summer Crisis Program (SCP) assists income-eligible Ohioans with electric utility bills, central air conditioning repairs, an air conditioning unit and/or fan purchases. SCP is available from July–Sept. annually.
  • Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP Plus) is a year-round extended payment plan allowing eligible customers to pay electric and/or natural gas bills based on a percentage of household income, so service is more affordable. Debt can be forgiven with on-time and in-full payments.
  • Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP) assists income-eligible Ohioans to improve their home’s energy efficiency and reduce energy costs.

These programs do not need to go through your local Energy Assistance Provider or Community Action Agency, unless otherwise indicated:

Special Reconnect Order (SRO)

Assistance for utility customers (regardless of income) to reconnect or avoid service disconnection.

Available mid-Oct. to mid-April

30-Day Medical Certificate

Helps consumers avoid disconnection or reconnect service if someone in the home has a medical condition.

Utility-Provided Assistance Programs

Helps utility customers with payment assistance for electric, natural gas and/or water bills.

Consumer Assistance for Military Families

Provides service members and their families with special utility service protections and assistance.

Telephone Lifeline Programs in Ohio

Can provide income-eligible consumers a discount on telephone service.

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  • Special Reconnect Order (SRO) is available mid-Oct. to mid-April for investor-owned electric and natural gas utility customers (regardless of income) to reconnect or avoid service disconnection.
  • 30-Day Medical Certificate helps consumers avoid disconnection or reconnect service with investor-owned utilities if someone in the home has a medical condition making it “especially dangerous” to be without electric, natural gas or water.
  • Utility-Provided Assistance Programs helps utility customers with payment assistance for electric, natural gas and/or water bills.
  • Consumer Assistance for Military Families may provide service members and their families special utility service protections and assistance.
  • Telephone Lifeline Programs can provide income-eligible consumers a discount on telephone service.

Need Help with Your Utility Bills? Payment Plans are Available

Do you need more time to pay the full bill or need an extended payment arrangement? If so, contact your utility company to ask for an individualized payment plan. If you can’t arrange a personalized plan, electric and natural gas utilities regulated by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio are required to offer you a payment plan.

Can You Benefit from a Utility Third-Party Notification?

Sometimes a consumer may not have paid his or her utility bill for electric, gas, or water service. In this situation, the utility’s Third-Party Notification program serves as a safety net for consumers whose utility service could be disconnected.
 

Additional Resources

Consumers are encouraged to contact their local Energy Assistance Provider or Community Action Agency (see www.energyhelp.ohio.gov), Department of Job and Family Services, and municipal and county governments about the availability of assistance programs.


Aqua Aid Ohio

Aqua Aid is currently available for Aqua Ohio customers who have fallen behind on their bills. Please call 1-877-987-2782 to request assistance on your account.


Ohio Department of Development

Ohio Home Relief Grant

Ohioans can receive assistance with rent, mortgage, or utilities (gas, electric, bulk fuel, water/sewer, and trash) through the local Energy Assistance Provider or Community Action Agency or via an online application. For more information or to apply online visit https://development.ohio.gov/individual/energy-assistance/home-relief-grant.


Ohio Housing Finance Agency

Save the Dream Ohio

Utility Assistance Plus provides eligible Ohio homeowners with financial assistance to pay delinquent utility bills, property taxes, and other housing costs not included in the mortgage payment. This program is administered through local Energy Assistance Providers or Community Action Agencies.

More information on both programs is available at https://savethedream.ohiohome.org/.


Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Rental Assistance Finder

The Rental Assistance Finder allows renters to find information on rental assistance in their area and apply for assistance. For more information visit https://www.consumerfinance.gov/. In Ohio, emergency rental assistance programs are administered by local Energy Assistance Providers or Community Action Agencies.


United Way

211 connects you to expert, caring help. Every call is completely confidential. Call 211 from any phone or go online to www.211.org.


American Rescue Plan

Help is here with the American Rescue Plan. Learn more about how to access your benefits here: www.whitehouse.gov/american-rescue-plan.