HUDSON VALLEY – Central Hudson customers experiencing a financial hardship this winter are encouraged to apply for a Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) grant, available beginning Nov. 13, 2017, for the 2017-2018 winter heating season.
The benefit may be obtained through local Department of Social Services (DSS) offices or Offices for the Aging. Qualifying families may also be eligible to receive additional benefits through Central Hudson.
“Eligible families using electricity or natural gas as their primary heating source may receive a regular HEAP benefit $350 to $401, depending on family income and size guidelines, applied toward their Central Hudson account,” said Charles A. Freni, Senior Vice President of Customer Services and Transmission & Distribution Operations. He added that certain benefits are also available to eligible customers who have heating costs included in rent. Benefits and guidelines are determined by New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.
Eligible customers who use electricity or natural gas to heat their residence may also qualify for an additional Emergency HEAP benefit of $350 to $490 beginning Jan. 2, 2018.
HEAP benefits are funded by the federal government and administered through the New York State Department of Social Services. Eligibility is based on family income and size. For example, this season a family of four earning up to $4,457 per month (or $53,484 per year) may qualify for a regular HEAP benefit. Additional benefits are available to households according to income levels, household members and to those with vulnerable individuals living in residence. The HEAP program also offers heating equipment repair up to $3,000 or replacement up to $6,500 for eligible families.
Expanded Central Hudson Bill Discount program for all HEAP recipients
“Central Hudson customers wh o receive HEAP benefits during the 2017-2018 heating season will also be issued a bill credit under an expanded income-eligible bill discount program,” said Freni. He explained that all customers receiving HEAP benefits qualify for an expanded bill discount, including a new discount for households using non-utility fuels such as oil, propane, wood, pellets and kerosene.
The bill discount is available to qualified customers as a part of a statewide collaborative and Central Hudson’s commitment to its low-income residents. These credits will range from $30 to $67 per month on natural gas heating bills; $3 per month on natural gas non-heating bills; $19 to $72 per month on electric heating bills; and $19 to $56 per month on electric non-heating bills. A combination of any of the above services, for example households receiving electric and natural gas service, could qualify for both credits. Customers receiving a HEAP benefit for non-utility fuels for heating, such as heating oil and propane, are offered credits ranging from $3 to $22 per month on their electricity bills.
The expanded program is expected to double the number of households eligible for the bill discount to approximately 25,000. The credits and eligibility rules were determined by state regulators earlier this year under a proceeding to address affordability for low income families.
Once a household receives a HEAP benefit on their Central Hudson account, a monthly credit will be applied to the account for up to 12 consecutive months based on the service type and amount of HEAP benefit. Qualified customers will receive an enrollment letter from Central Hudson confirming their participation. Customers receiving the bill credit will automatically be enrolled in the budget billing program, which divides the estimated annual bill into 11 even monthly payments, with the last month adjusted up or down to account for actual usage. Customers may opt out of the budget billing program at any time.
Customers receiving a HEAP benefit for non-utility fuels for heating (heating oil, propane, etc.) may also self-enroll in the program by providing Central Hudson with a copy of their HEAP “Notice of Decision” letter by email at DSSdesk@cenhud.com; by fax at (845) 486-5676; by U.S. mail; or in person. For more on the enhanced bill discount program for HEAP recipients and instructions for self-enrollment, visitwww.CentralHudson.com/BillDiscountProgram;
To learn of eligibility requirements and how to apply for HEAP benefits, visit www.mybenefits.ny.gov or contact:
|DSS HEAP Dept.||Office for the Aging|
|Albany County||(518) 447-7323||(518) 756-8650|
|Columbia County||(518) 828-9411||(518) 828-4258|
|Dutchess County||(845) 486-3249||(845) 486-2555|
|Greene County||(518) 719-3700||(518) 719-3555|
|Orange County||(845) 291-2002||(845) 615-3710|
|Putnam County||(845) 808-1500||(845) 808-1700, ext. 47112|
|Sullivan County||(845) 807-0142||(845) 794-3000|
|Ulster County||(845) 334-5436|
Central Hudson also offers a Deferred Payment Agreement program, to assist customers by allowing payment of past due amounts over time while staying current with future bills.
For more information on HEAP eligibility requirements and benefits, customers may also visit www.CentralHudson.com/Heap; and for more on all of Central Hudson’s assistance and billing programs, visitwww.CentralHudson.com, and click on “My Account.”