Central Hudson offers additional assistance for HEAP beneficiaries
POUGHKEEPSIE (November 14) - Customers experiencing a financial hardship this winter are encouraged to apply for a Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) grant through their local Department of Social Services; and those who qualify may also be eligible to receive additional benefits from Central Hudson.
“Customers who are eligible for HEAP and use electricity or natural gas as their primary heating source may receive a regular benefit $350 to $400, depending on family income guidelines, applied toward their Central Hudson account,” said Charles A. Freni, Senior Vice President of Customer Services, adding that 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, 2015.
Eligibility for HEAP benefits, which opens on Nov. 17, 2014, is determined by income and family size; this season, for example, a family of four earning up to $50,629 per year may qualify.
“All Central Hudson customers who receive HEAP benefits toward their account during the 2014-2015 HEAP season will also be issued a bill credit of between $5.50 and $23 per month on their Central Hudson bill, depending on the type of service received, for a maximum of 12 months,” said Freni. “We’re pleased to provide this support for our customers who may be facing financial difficulties.”
Central Hudson offers other assistance programs, including Deferred Payment Agreements to pay past due amounts over time, and the Powerful Opportunities Program to help income-qualified customers manage their monthly Central Hudson bills, reduce their past due amounts and learn about energy efficiency.
To avoid seasonal swings in energy bills, Central Hudson customers can also enroll in the utility’s monthly billing program. “Monthly billing divides a household’s average annual energy bill into 11 even monthly payments, with the 12th month’s payment adjusted up or down to reflect actual usage and market prices,” said Freni. Under this program, utility bills are more predictable, and it may be easier for households to budget for energy costs.
“We’ve also taken additional steps to help manage the unpredictability of electricity and gas supply prices during winter months when weather and other factors may significantly impact wholesale market prices,” said Freni. “But customers who prefer greater price certainty for electricity or natural gas supply may research the many fixed price and other alternative supply offerings available from the numerous qualified Energy Services Companies (ESCOs) that offer such options,” he said. He noted that while fixed price options may not necessarily result in the lowest given supply price during any season, they can provide the peace of mind that helps customers to better manage their household budgets.
For more on all of Central Hudson’s assistance and billing programs, visit www.CentralHudson.com, and click on “Your Home.”