- What to Do When You Can’t Pay Your Electric Bill
- Emergency Utility Bill Help: What to Do
- Utility Company Programs
- Government Assistance and Programs
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Weatherization Assistance Program
- Charity Aids
- Catholic Charities
- The Salvation Army
- Non-Profit Organizations
- What to Do When Your Electricity is Shut Off
- Try DebtQuest USA
What to Do When You Can’t Pay Your Electric Bill
It’s a sad reality that nothing in life comes for free. It has always been a fact that money is needed to afford a lot of necessities such as housing, water, and of course, electricity. But because these expenses never stop and are just always there waiting to be fulfilled, you might find yourself in a situation where you are unable to be on top of paying your bills.
Bills are great responsibilities, and scheduling them in line with your income is a must. Neglecting your utilities causes a lot of problems and only increases your expenses. That’s why utility charges like your electric bill should always be paid, and they must be arranged to be paid monthly. But there are inescapable situations where you might find yourself unable to do so, so what should you do then?
Emergency Utility Bill Help: What to Do
When emerging thoughts of “I cannot pay my electric bill!” start to make your head hurt, you will inevitably find yourself looking for ways to get yourself out of the crisis. Simply typing “pay my power bill” or “pay my electric bill” on your search engine will yield you different suggestions. All you need to do is to start searching for available courses of action. There are also people who can help with light bills that you need to pay if you search enough. The process may be stressful and may require a lot of effort and work from you, but it is better than just waiting for your electricity to be cut off.
There are also applications to places and programs available that you can turn to when you need help paying your bills. Below are some general suggestions to go to if you need help paying bills ASAP:
- Government programs – these are usually available at two different levels: the federal level and the state level.
- Assistance programs – they offer help in heating bills payment, like free or low-cost fuel or oil.
- Utility companies – payment plans and measures are available for their customers to prevent complete shut-off.
- Non-profit organizations and charities – they may offer some cash assistance for paying electric and light bills.
Let’s look more into the organizations and programs discussed above for further information on what might suit you and your current dilemma.
Utility Company Programs
If you are having trouble and are struggling to pay your electric bills, the most common and easiest thing to do is get in contact with your own utility company. You can ask them if there are programs available to assist you in dealing with the situation you are in. Many utility companies offer help to their customers who are short on their bills. It can be in the form of a plan, cash assistance, credits, or a budgeting program. These solutions can be discussed if you get in touch and communicate with your service provider.
There are also utility companies that offer payment plans which will assist you in managing your bills. An example of this payment plan is a balanced payment plan in which every month, you will be charged a fixed amount. This way, you have the power and chance to budget and control your electric bill costs. They can also explore more options, such as taking your balance into consideration and adding small amounts in your future monthly bills until your balance is paid off completely. Prepaid electricity plans are also available in some companies where you will be assisted in budgeting better because this plan will limit you from using more energy than you and your wallet can afford.
Government Assistance and Programs
If you want to turn to a different place for electric bill assistance, you can look for government support and programs. As it’s the government’s responsibility to provide for its people, the chance of available assistance for problems like yours is high. Below are some government programs you might want to check out:
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
LIHEAP is a government program with an aim to aid low-income households who have large portions of their income reserved just for their home energy. The LIHEAP agency has been granted large amounts of money for funds by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
LIHEAP provides federally funded assistance in managing costs associated with:
- Home energy bills
- Energy crises
- Weatherization and energy-related minor home repairs
There are two ways you can acquire help from this program: through a cash grant or a crisis grant. The cash grant of the program will give you ongoing assistance, while the crisis grant is the assistance given to those who are in dire need – such as when someone has already received a notice of disconnection and requires emergency help with their electric bill.
Fortunately, even if you have applied for the LIHEAP crisis grant once, you can apply for it again, even in the same year of your last application. As long as you have not acquired or received the maximum amount for the specific year, you can always reapply.
The LIHEAP can provide grants ASAP, likely within 24 hours in some cases.
Weatherization Assistance Program
This program provides free energy conservation and weatherization services to people who need assistance in improving their home’s energy efficiency. Services like weatherstripping, wall and attic insulation, minor home repairs, and furnace tune-ups are included.
Households qualified in this Weatherization Assistance Program are those whose income is at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Aside from this, households with children under the age of 6, with elderly residents, or a disabled resident, and those with the highest energy costs and lowest income will be most prioritized.
There are still other government-issued programs and assistance that might be available in your local area. You can contact or go to your local government to ask for any available assistance that may help you in your situation.
Applying for government programs might be helpful and easier to comply with in the long term, but if you are on the verge of having your lights cut off, then you need immediate help.
Local churches and social service agencies can provide short-term funds to keep your utilities running. Churches that help with light bills might be a new concept to some, but they exist.
This huge charity was founded over a century ago. It is composed of men and women who firmly believe that the collective efforts of the church to faithfully serve people, especially those in need, could improve and aid the nation’s poverty.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army helps people throughout the Midwest. They offer unique, local programs that are designed to meet the specific needs of each community. They offer up to 12 simple service categories, like utility bills assistance.
There are more churches that are willing to be of help. Even local churches that have ministries within the church offer aid to people’s financial problems and help them in their situation, such as your problem with your electricity bill. You can try and call the churches in your local area and ask if there are family assistance programs that can help you keep your utility from being shut off completely. Here are more of the churches you can go to:
- Love Inc.
- Lutheran Social Ministry
- Vincent De Paul Society
- Jewish Federation of North America
- Urban League
Organizations that help for the sole purpose of just helping do exist. They are one of the good options to go to and try to seek assistance from, as their goal is simply to help. There are a lot of non-profit organizations that you can go to, such as NetWish. NetWish is not your traditional and typical non-profit organization. It is the brainchild of a successful Philadelphia area businessman who wishes to remain completely anonymous. This organization helps the less fortunate, and absolutely no tax benefit is received when the Wishes, or the needs of the people, are fulfilled. NetWish has been helping people since 2002 and is inspiring other communities to be kind and help others.
What to Do When Your Electricity is Shut Off
If you are not able to get the help you need, or you did not qualify for the assistance and programs from the above options and badly do not want your electricity to be completely shut off, here are some solutions you can try.
The Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) helps those low-income households who are in a crisis. If you got a 24 to 48-hour notice of disconnection from a utility company, the ECIP can help, even though much of this assistance is through LIHEAP too.
You can also try to access the Texas Department of Health and Human Services website. They have an assistance search engine where you can check and look for anything you need as you hunt for assistance. You can input keywords such as “help with electric bill” and let the engine do its work.
There may be a lot of solutions that you can look into when you find yourself needing help in paying your bills, but the greatest solution will always be prevention. Budgeting your income more efficiently and limiting your utility uses are some of the simple ways to avoid being in a situation where you hassle yourself in finding assistance.
Try DebtQuest USA
If none of the options above help you with your problem, you can go and try the offers we have. We enroll our clients into a debt settlement program that is based on their budget, crisis, and situation they are in. With DebtQuest’s programs, you can start saving money to pay off your creditors while our team negotiates with your creditors. Try our services today and be one of our success stories. Be a part of the thousands of people we’ve already helped!