Energy Assistance

Energy Assistance Programs for Low Income FamiliesThose who meet certain income-eligibility and geographic requirements may obtain help with their energy costs from one or more of the Energy Assistance programs administered by New Opportunities Inc. The organization’s Energy Division offers both financial aid and, where needed, engineering support in the form of Weatherization. Both are paid for by a mix of federal and state funds; these funds have been enhanced by a specialized network of public and private partnerships.

Each request for aid is handled individually and, initially, face-to-face. A person’s application is reviewed by a skilled staff member who is familiar with the variety of programs available. This intake interviewer is specially trained to assess how best to help a qualified applicant meet their energy needs in the most cost-effective way.

Energy Division representatives also serve as advocates for energy policies that can improve the situation of much of Connecticut’s low-income population. These efforts of staff and others have made a significant difference. For each of the past two heating seasons, more than 25,000 households received Energy Assistance from New Opportunities, Inc.

The following information is about how to apply for energy cost relief and offers descriptions of a sampling of Energy Assistance programs which are available.

About the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program

The federally-funded Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) is designed to help low-income households pay their winter heating bills. CEAP is not meant to pay total heating costs. Households must plan to pay a part of the bill themselves. Yet with the help of CEAP, households may secure fuel service deliveries and defray their utility heating costs. For those whose heat is included in their rent, one-time financial assistance is available in a lump sum.

For eligible households the winter heating assistance pays for such heating sources as oil, natural gas, electricity, propane, kerosene, coal and wood. Individuals and families qualify for CEAP based on their gross annual income and household size. Any household with a gross annual income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines which has also provided all required documentation is deemed eligible for this program.

Applications for CEAP are accepted from August through April. Benefits are available only until the annual allotment of funds runs out. Although CEAP is overseen by the CT Department of Social Services (DSS), it is administered by New Opportunities Inc. in all towns which are included in its service area.

For more information, call the Energy Division at (203) 756-8151 in Waterbury, (203) 235-0278 in Meriden or email Energy [at] NewOppInc [dot] org (subject: Inquiry from Website) .

About Operation Fuel

Operation Fuel provides emergency energy bill assistance to lower and middle income working families, needy elderly, the disabled and others in the midst of a financial crisis, such as a job loss or a medical emergency. The organization targets those who have exhausted other state and federal benefits and programs and helps prevent residents from having their utility or heating service terminated due to lack of payment.

Operation Fuel will do its best to quickly submit payments directly to the utility or fuel company so that the resident’s lights stay on and their thermostat stays high enough to ward off the chill. The organization partners with a network of more than 100 charities, fuel banks and nonprofit organizations. Their principal goal is to ultimately remedy people’s payment difficulties by negotiating and creating workable payment plans with the specific utility or fuel provider of those they seek to assist. As a further protection, advocates for this vulnerable population have helped enact the current state moratorium which prohibits energy shut-offs between November 1 and May 1.

This energy assistance is funded by donations from electric and gas companies that have at least 75,000 customers. In their monthly bills these companies now include a request for each customer to add a dollar donation to the bill payment. These funds, as well as a contribution from the state, are then distributed to appropriate agencies by Operation Fuel. The state legislature has committed to keep Operation Fuel running and provide additional funds as needed.

For more information, call the Energy Division at (203) 756-8151 in Waterbury, (203) 235-0278 in Meriden or email Energy [at] NewOppInc [dot] org (subject: Inquiry from Website) .

How to Apply for Energy Assistance

The primary goal of Energy Assistance is to keep households warm and safe during the winter months . The Energy Division helps income-eligible people who have difficulty paying the cost of heating their homes by providing vendor payments for their home heating. Energy Assistance staff also determines how its services can be utilized to lower their clients’ energy costs. Income guidelines change yearly and are based on the state/national poverty level.

All applicants must apply in person. An outreach visit is available for the homebound elderly or physically disabled. Along with offices located in Waterbury, Meriden and Torrington, intake sites are located in a number of towns. Applicants for Energy Assistance are required to provide the following information:

  • Proof of income for all household members for the four weeks immediately prior to the application date.
  • If the primary heating source is a utility, a copy of the utility bill must be presented.
  • Renters must show copies of their rent receipts or lease.
  • Homeowners must provide a copy of their mortgage.
  • Documentation of liquid assets is required.

Payments will be made directly to the heating vendor on the household’s behalf.

For more information, call the Energy Division at (203) 756-8151 in Waterbury, (203) 235-0278 in Meriden or email Energy [at] NewOppInc [dot] org (subject: Inquiry from Website) .

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