The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) offers fact sheets on 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.
Make an Appointment with your Community Action Agency
Many assistance programs may go through your local Community Action Agency (CAA). Your CAA will help walk you through the process and make sure you qualify for any programs. Consumers scheduling an energy assistance appointment must bring the proper documentation to complete the application process. The Energy Assistance Appointment Checklist serves as a checklist to assist with gathering these necessary documents.
These programs have income-based requirements and you can apply through your local Community Action Agency:
- View as list
- 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 Community Action Agency, unless otherwise indicated:
- View as list
- 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.
Many consumers struggle to pay electric and natural gas bills. Use OCC’s Guide to Energy Disconnection and Reconnection to learn about disconnection rights and responsibilities.
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.
Consumers are encouraged to contact their local 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.
In response to the pandemic there may be additional utility, rental, and mortgage assistance for eligible Ohioans through state and federal agencies.
Ohio Department of Development
Ohio Household Water Assistance Program
Federal funding from the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) provides eligible households emergency assistance for water and wastewater bills through Mar 31, 2024. Contact your local Community Action Agency for more information or to apply.
Ohio Home Relief Grant
Ohioans can receive assistance with rent, mortgage, or utilities (gas, electric, bulk fuel, water/sewer, and trash) through the local 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 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 Community Action Agencies.
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.
The Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) benefit program helps eligible households afford broadband service. For more information visit https://www.fcc.gov/acp.