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Green Mountain Power assistance programs.

Many Vermont families struggle with paying their utilities, especially their heating bills during the cold and long winter months. Green Mountain Power can help the less fortunate find and apply for assistance programs. They are wide ranging and support thousands of customers per year.

The company tries to lend a helping hand to those who need it most. Low-income residents are often faced with heavy burdens when faced with heating costs, unexpected expenses, and other emergencies. When facing a financial hardship or crisis, people can turn to a host of assistance programs that operate in Vermont.

A Low-Income Rate is offered statewide, including by Green Mountain Power. The state of Vermont Public Service Board has approved a new, lower discounted rate for income qualified customers. This can provide those that qualify fee waivers and a reduction in the monthly cost of their energy bills. The company works closely with the Vermont Agency of Human Services Department for Children and Families to administer this program.

The Low-Income Discount Rate, Energy Assistance Program (EAP) is a rate that is made available to low income and struggling customers. This rate has been specially designed to assist low-income customers and help them make it through the winter months.

While the program terms can change, the discounted rate from Green Mountain Power can provide as much as a 25% reduction on heating and utility bills. This is available on the customer charge and it is also offered on the first 600 kilowatt-hours of energy usage each month.

Another component is offered too. Qualified customers can receive one-time arrearage / financial assistance. This will forgive a portion of any unpaid or outstanding bills that are due from the customer.

To qualify, the new low-income rate is available to green Mountain and Vermont customers at or below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines. This will take into consideration family size as well, and eligibility limits and cut offs will vary by the size of family.




Maybe the main resource available during the winter for Green Mountain Power customers is known as Fuel Assistance. The federal government and state of Vermont both pay for the program. It provides cash grants that can help low-income families, with a focus on those that would be at risk without heat. Vermonters can get help in paying for their winter home-heating bills. For more information on this program, which many people refer to as LIHEAP, call the Benefit Service Center at 1-800-479-6151.

Families have other places they can contact in order to apply for fuel assistance. People can pick up an application at a local Community Action Agency, office of the Vermont Department of Children and Families, or a Area Agency on Aging. A case manager and staff can help people apply or answer questions.

The WARMTH program and Power Partners may also be options for households that use Green Mountain Power. Both of these programs provide bill paying assistance to qualified, low-income Vermonters. To learn more or apply, contact your local Community Action Agency.

Funding is very limited and is offered on a first come-served basis. This is partly due because WARMTH relies on donations from the community. In addition to what people contribute, GMP matches these customer donations up to a certain dollar amount. For example, Green Mountain provides tens of thousands of dollars annually to a Power Partners fund.

Payment plans may be offered too. If a customer of the company has trouble paying their monthly heating bill, GMP will work with those customers to create a reasonable payment plan to pay the past due over time and to help them keep up with future bills.

To learn about these programs, explore any payment options, or get help, call 1-888-835-4672 to reach Green Mountain Power.



By Jon McNamara

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