utilities assistance

Heating Assistance Available to Help Ohioans Avoid Winter Chill

(HARRISON, CARROLL, & TUSCARAWAS COUNTY) – The Ohio Department of Development and HARCATUS Tri-County Community Action Organization, Inc. want to ensure Ohioans stay warm and comfortable this winter by helping alleviate the burden of costly energy bills.

From November 1, 2023 through March 31, 2024, income-eligible Ohioans can receive one-time assistance with their home energy bill through the Department of Development’s Home Energy Assistance Winter Crisis Program. The Winter Crisis Program assists Ohioans facing service disconnection, have been disconnected, need to establish new service, need to pay to transfer service, have a Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) default, need to make their first PIPP payment, or have 25 percent or less supply of bulk fuel in their tank to maintain service. Qualifying households must have a gross annual income of at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that is up to $52,500.

Last year, the Winter Crisis Program assisted more than 67,000 households in Ohio, providing a total of $19 million in benefits.

“A warm and comfortable home should not be a luxury only some people can afford,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Department of Development. “This program does more than just provide financial assistance; it shows some of our most-vulnerable residents that we’re here to lend a helping hand when they need it most.”

Households serviced by a Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO)-regulated utility must sign up for PIPP or another payment plan if there is still an outstanding balance on the utility bill after receiving assistance. Ohioans can start their application online but will need to schedule an appointment with their local energy assistance provider to complete the application. Depending on the agency, the appointment may be in person, on the phone, or virtual.

How to Apply

The application and list of providers can be found online at energyhelp.ohio.gov. Ohioans can also call 800-282-0880 to find their local provider. Hearing impaired customers may dial 711 for assistance.

If you reside in Harrison, Carroll, or Tuscarawas Counties; HARCATUS is your direct contact for these programs. The staff at each local HARCATUS Community Services Office is available to answer your questions about the program, provide you an application, enter the application in the system and work directly with your utility company to be sure all the details are in place. “It is a privilege for HARCATUS to serve as the local resource for residents who want to participate in this state program. In 2022-2023, HARCATUS worked with 3,367 area households to benefit from the Winter Crisis Program.”, said JoEllen Sanders, Community Services Director.

The office needs the following documents for your appointment:

  • Copies of their most recent energy bills.
  • A list of all household members and proof of income for the last 30 days or 12 months for each member.
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency for all household members.
  • Proof of disability, if applicable.

HARCATUS Harrison County (740) 922-8886
HARCATUS Carroll County (330) 627-4101
HARCATUS Tuscarawas County (330) 343-8770
Online at www.harcatus.org/heap

If you have applied for HEAP, benefits are applied to an individual’s energy bill after Jan. 1. If you need immediate assistance with your energy bills through the Winter Crisis Program, please contact your local Energy Assistance Provider. A list of providers can be found at energyhelp.ohio.gov.

Applications for the HEAP Winter Crisis program must be received by March 31, 2024. The last day to apply for the regular HEAP benefit is May 31, 2024. For more information on the programs, visit energyhelp.ohio.gov or call your local Energy Assistance Provider.

Audrey Mattevi, Reporting

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