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Time remains to secure Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) funding through area agencies

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Though the first day of spring is March 20th, the temperatures, and many household energy bills, still feel like winter. Columbia Gas of Ohio reminds customers that there is still time and available funding to secure assistance for home energy bills.

Many of the programs are available for households at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level; for a family of four, that figure is just $46,100.  

For households at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, several assistance programs are still available, including:

  • Winter Crisis program: Available through March 31, 2013, providing assistance once per heating season to eligible households that are disconnected or threatened with disconnection.
  • Winter Reconnect Order: Available through April 15, 2013, allowing customers whose service if off for non-payment or who have received disconnection notices to take advantage of this service. No matter what amount is owed, service can be restored or maintained with a payment of $175 plus a small reconnection fee.
  • Applications for HEAP: Available through May 31, 2013, the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a federally funded program administered statewide by the Ohio Development Services Agency, Office of Community Assistance (OCA). It is designed to help eligible low-income Ohioans with their home heating bills.
A complete, interactive list of community action agencies by county is available hereOACAA.org/directory.html.

For the 2012-2013 winter heating season, HEAP funding is free and available to qualified homes or rental properties at 200 percent or below the federal poverty guidelines, including:

Size of Family        200% Poverty Guideline
        1                                $22,340
        2                                $30,260
        3                                $38,180
        4                                $46,100
        5                                $54,020
        6                                $61,940

        7                                $69,860        

        8                                $77,780

For households with more than eight (8) members, add $7,920 for each additional member.

Though there are several programs and options, the first step for any customer struggling with home energy bills is to contact Columbia Gas at the first sign there may be trouble paying a bill. Columbia Gas is committed to working with everyone to ensure safe and reliable service this winter heating season.

Columbia Gas of Ohio safely delivers clean and efficient natural gas to approximately 1.4 million customers in 61 of Ohio’s 88 counties. With headquarters in Columbus, it is one of the seven energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) and is the largest natural gas utility in the state. NiSource companies deliver energy to approximately 3.8 million customers located within the high-demand energy corridor stretching from the Gulf Coast through the Midwest to New England.

Be sure to call 811 at least two business days before you dig. For information about natural gas safety and what to do if you suspect a gas leak, go to SafeGasOhio.org.