As temperatures drop, heating costs can rise. While it may be easy to crank the thermostat up for some, others can’t afford the increased expense to keep their households warm. Wake County’s three heating bill assistance programs can offer relief for residents behind on their bills and facing a utility cutoff.
“For residents who lost their jobs or saw their paychecks shrink as a result of the pandemic, there’s a feeling of dread as the nights get colder,” said Wake County Commissioner Dr. James West. “It’s critical they know where they can go for help. We’re confident that through our three assistance programs, we can help keep Wake County warm this winter.”
The county has two annual heating assistance programs that focus solely on helping people keep their homes warm. The Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) and the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) both provide support to low-income families who are struggling to cover the costs associated with heating their homes.
In addition to those annual programs, people impacted by COVID-19 who are behind on their utility bills can apply for payment assistance via WakeHELPS through the end of 2020 or until funding is exhausted.
Residents no longer need to apply for each program individually. Instead, they can fill out one form for all three programs, and county staff will match the right applicants with the right programs – making the process as easy and efficient as possible.
“Residents shouldn’t have to worry about which program they qualify for or submitting multiple applications,” said Wake County Energy Assistance Program Manager Janny Mealor. “All they need to do is complete the energy application found at wakegov.com/staywarm, and staff can use that application for Crisis and LIEAP to assess for any additional time-limited resources that may be available.”
Wake County’s heating bill assistance programs can pay for bills associated with:
- Natural gas;
- Wood; and
In past years, people were required to apply in person at county locations. However, due to the impacts of COVID-19 and temporary closures of some county buildings, residents can apply from the safety of their homes. Application forms can be obtained by visiting Wake County’s Energy Assistance webpage. Once completed, the form may be submitted by:
- Emailing email@example.com; or
- Faxing 919.212.7085.
If people do not have access to email or fax, they may call Human Services for assistance at 919.212.7000.
Depending on the program, residents may be required to:
- Show a past due notice or disconnection notice from a utility service provider;
- Provide income verification; and
- Show proof of residence in Wake County.
The county’s annual energy assistance programs have helped thousands of residents avoid service cut-offs in previous years. Last winter, more than 16,000 applicants received financial help.
Applications will be accepted until funds are exhausted. Support is available on a first-come, first-served basis. All payments from programs go directly to the utility provider/vendor.