The cold weather season is here, and South Jersey Gas wants to remind customers that several federal and state assistance programs are available to help manage winter energy costs.
“At South Jersey Gas, we’re committed to ensuring that our customers have access to safe, reliable and affordable natural gas service no matter their financial circumstances,” said Brent Schomber, president and COO, South Jersey Gas. “With winter on the horizon, our dedicated Energy Assistance teams are proactively building awareness around resources, tips and tools that customers can leverage to meet their energy needs now and well into the future.”
In response to the ongoing economic challenges experienced by residential utility customers, the following assistance programs have been expanded to include higher-income households. For instance, a family of four can make up to $111,000 and may be eligible to receive assistance. South Jersey Gas’ Energy Assistance team is available to help customers determine if they are eligible for any of these services and identify which program is suitable for each household.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides federally funded energy assistance to help low to moderate income families meet their energy needs. LIHEAP also offers an added emergency crisis benefit component, offering eligible applicants an additional benefit to maintain or restore service. LIHEAP accepts applications from October 1 through June 30 each year and accepts applications for its ancillary emergency grant from March 16 through June 30 each year. For more information on the application process or to apply online, visit the Department of Community Affairs’ website at nj.gov/dca.
The Universal Service Fund (USF) state program helps make natural gas and electric bills more affordable for low income households. Customers who apply for LIHEAP automatically submit for consideration for the USF grant. USF has also revised its program to address customers’ needs by increasing its monthly benefit from $150 to $180. In addition, all customers who have been approved for the USF program over the next two years will be screened for the USF Fresh Start program if arrears are greater than $60. USF accepts applications year-round.
The Payment Assistance for Gas and Electric (PAGE) is a state-funded utility assistance program that helps low- to moderate-income families in New Jersey pay their utility bills. The PAGE grant is administered by the Affordable Housing Alliance and is funded by the Board of Public Utilities (BPU). It is a financial assistance program designed to help households across the state of New Jersey that are experiencing economic hardship and struggling to pay their electric and natural gas bills. New Jersey residents who rent or own a home and are facing a crisis situation that includes a documented notice of overdue payment for gas or electric service may qualify.
The NJ SHARES program provides a one-time grant to moderate or fixed-income households experiencing a financial crisis that do not qualify for federal and state assistance programs due to the household’s income. Grants can be up to $700 for customers with natural gas as a heating source and must result in a continuance and/or restoration of service.
NJ Comfort Partners is a free energy efficiency and education program for qualified low-income customers offered through the New Jersey Clean Energy Program. The program helps customers save energy and money while making their homes more energy efficient. Eligible customers will receive all energy-saving education services free of charge. The program also includes the installation of cost-effective energy efficiency measures in the home.
South Jersey Gas encourages customers to apply to the above programs prior to the expiration of their enhanced benefits, effective September 30, 2023. Customers may apply for these programs online, through mail or in person. For more information on how or where to apply, visit southjerseygas.com, the Board of Public Utilities official website, NJPowerOn.org or NJsharesgreen.org.
For additional details on these programs, including eligibility requirements and help applying to the above programs, contact the South Jersey Gas Energy Assistance team at email@example.com.