Ohioans who heat with natural gas are likely to see higher bills this upcoming winter due to natural gas commodity increases throughout 2021. Many Ohioans may experience “sticker shock” when they open the natural gas bill in December as natural gas usage begins to climb, especially compared to previous years.
Households can reduce the natural gas bill through utility assistance programs, energy saving tips, and energy choice. OCC offers fact sheets and free virtual presentations on the following topics to help lower the natural gas bill this upcoming winter:
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
HEAP is currently accepting applications, which helps pay towards the primary heating source. Qualifying households can apply through a paper application (attached) or online. For more information on the HEAP program, including how to qualify and apply, please review OCC’s HEAP fact sheet.
Winter Crisis Program
Residential consumers can utilize the Winter Crisis Program to stop a disconnection notice or reconnect service towards a heating source, which can include electric, natural gas, fuel oils, etc. To qualify, the household income must be at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. To apply, the consumer should contact the energy assistance provider. Please visit the Ohio Department of Developments website for additional information on the Winter Crisis Program.
Winter Reconnect Order (WRO)
Residential consumers can utilize the WRO to reconnect or to avoid disconnection of their electric and/or natural gas utilities in Ohio. To use the WRO, an Ohioan must have service with an investor-owned electric and/or natural gas utility. There are no income guidelines to utilize the WRO. For more information, please see OCC’s WRO fact sheet.
Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP)
The HWAP helps improve the energy efficiency of the residence. To qualify, the household income must be at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Consumers can apply at the local energy assistance provider. For additional information, please see OCC’s HWAP fact sheet.
Percentage of Payment Plan (PIPP Plus)
The PIPP Plus program allows a consumer to pay a percentage of the household income to the utility company each month. Consumers who qualify can apply at the local energy assistance provider. To qualify, the household income must be at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. For additional information, please see OCC’s PIPP Plus fact sheet.
Energy Saving Tips
Simple energy efficiency upgrades can help lower the heating bill, which can include replacing worn out weather stripping around doors and windows, putting up plastic on windows, and installing out insulators. Additional energy efficiency tips can be found in the below OCC fact sheets:
Stay Connected to Your Utilities
There is still time to register for the “Stay Connected to Your Utilities” program. These programs are scheduled for December 3 from 9:00 a.m. through 10:00 a.m. and December 13 from 2:00 p.m. through 3:00 p.m. For additional information, please refer to the attached flyer.
Holiday Smart Energy Living: Saving Money During the Holidays
On Monday, December 6 from 10:00-11:00 a.m., I will provide a virtual presentation on how to save money on your utilities during the holiday. Participants will learn how to save money on heating, cooking, holiday lighting, and much more. For additional information, please refer to the attached flyer.