Can't afford winter heating bills? These Columbia Gas programs can help
Below-freezing temperatures have been persistent in York County since Christmas, which means heating bills could be much higher than expected.
Columbia Gas has several payment-assistance and energy-efficiency programs available to help customers manage their bills without sacrificing the safety of heat.
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): The program draws on federal funds, which are disbursed to residential Columbia Gas customers as energy grants that do not need to be repaid. Guidelines for the program are based on household size and income level, and change each heating season. Customers should apply for the program — available until April 6 — before funds run out. Call the LIHEAP Hotline at 800-272-2714.
- Customer Assistance Program (CAP): Customers with low incomes and long-term bill payment difficulties can have reduced monthly payments or debt forgiveness for prior balances, if income eligible. For more information, call Columbia at 800-537-7431.
- Customer Assistance, Referral & Evaluation Services (CARES): Columbia's program provides referrals to agencies that may be able to assist customers who cannot pay their utility bills and discuss options, including fuel assistance programs. Call Columbia at 800-537-7431.
- Dollar Energy Fund: The independent, nonprofit organization serves low- or fixed-income individuals. The fund receives donations from utility customers that are matched by the utilities. To apply, call Columbia at 800-537-7431.
- WarmWise: Low Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP): Home weatherization assistance helps reduce annual heating costs free of charge. The program identifies opportunities for improved weatherization in the home and installs the most cost-effective measures to reduce consumption. A clean and tune-up of heating equipment also is provided. Call Columbia at 800-537-7431
- WarmWise: Audits & Rebates: The free program for Columbia customers offers an in-home energy audit to identify energy-saving improvements. Rebates also are available for the improvements. To schedule the free audit, call Columbia at 866-956-0308.
- CRISIS — Emergency Energy Assistance: Any customer in danger of losing their heat, having their utilities cut off or dealing with broken heating equipment or leaking lines can apply for CRISIS funds, a part of the LIHEAP program. Call Columbia at 800-272-2714.
- Security Deposit Assistance Fund (S-DAF): Income-eligible individuals who want to become a customer of Columbia Gas but need help paying the security deposit can apply for a grant one time within a 12-month period that does not need to be repaid. Call Advantage Credit Counseling Services at 866-224-0064.
- Budget Payment Plan: All Columbia Gas customers have the opportunity to spread annual gas costs evenly across the year instead of paying account balances each month, which helps to eliminate high bills in the winter months. Customers can apply at any point during the budget year, which begins in May. Call Columbia at 888-460-4332.