ENERGY AND UTILITY ASSISTANCE
The utility assistance programs that are funded by the state and federal government were created to help low-income residents with their heating and medically necessary cooling bills. Some programs make provisions for emergency heating system services and emergency fuel assistance, while others enable home modifications that result in long-term energy savings.
LIHEAP - The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) is a federally funded program designed to help low-income families and individuals meet home heating and medically necessary cooling costs. The application period is from October 1 through April 30. Assistance is provided on a first-come, first-served basis so applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as they are eligible. If you are eligible to receive assistance for cooling costs you should apply for this benefit at the same time that you apply for help with heating costs because the application process closes on April 30 and after that date, you will not be able to submit an application for assistance until the following year.
Universal Service Fund (USF)
The Universal Service Fund (USF) was created by the NJ Board of Public Utilities to help make natural gas and electric bills more affordable for low-income customers. You may apply for assistance at any time of year. The LIHEAP application is also an application for the Universal Service Fund. You apply for two benefit programs at the same time. Eligible households receive a monthly credit benefit towards their gas and electric bills. The program is funded through the Societal Benefit Fund which is supported by ratepayers. To be eligible, a household's gross income meet the income levels listed in the chart below and pay more than 3% of its annual income for electric, or more than 3% for natural gas. If a household has electric heat, it must spend more than 6% of its annual income on electricity to be eligible. USF benefits are only available to customers of the seven regulated electric (energy) companies in New Jersey which are: New Jersey Natural Gas Company; Elizabethtown Gas Company; South Jersey Gas Company; Public Service Electric & Gas Company; Rockland Electric Company; Jersey Central Power & Light and Atlantic City Electric Company.
Weatherization Assistance Program
This program provides free comprehensive energy conservation improvements to reduce residential heat loss and energy consumption. The LIHEAP application is also an application for the Weatherization Assistance Program and the Universal Service Fund (USF). You can apply for three energy benefit programs at the same time. Applicants for the Weatherization Assistance Program must have a gross annual income that falls below 200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines.
This utility assistance program is designed to help eligible low-income senior citizens and people with disabilities. It offers $225 to persons who meet the PAAD (Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled) eligibility requirements or who receive SSI. This includes utility customers as well as tenants whose utility bills are included in their rent. Lifeline benefits are provided only for electric and natural gas consumers. For more information about Lifeline visit the NJ Department of Health website or call 800.792.9745.
PAGE - (Payment Assistance for Gas & Electric) Program
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities funds this program.The program is administered through the Affordable Housing Alliance (AHA). This annual program is intended to provide assistance to low-to-moderate income New Jersey residents who are struggling to pay their electric and natural gas bills.
To be eligible you must:
Be a homeowner or renter living in NJ
Currently receive gas and electric services from one of the following providers: JCP&L, PSE&G, Rockland Electric, Atlantic City Electric, NJNG, Elizabeth Gas, South Jersey Gas, or a third party provider who bills through one of these companies
Be facing a crisis situation that includes a documented notice that your gas/electric account is currently 45 days or more past due and/or have received a discontinuation notice
Demonstrate that 2 payments of at least $25 each have been made within the past 6 months onto the gas and electric account or one payment of $100 or greater within the past 90 days
Provide copies of all required documentation along with the application
Have not received LIHEAP assistance in the last heating season or USF in the last six months
Meet income eligibility requirements noted in the PAGE table below
Any household with assets of $10,000 or more in savings, stocks/bonds etc. will be considered ineligible for the program.
For more information and to apply, visit NJpoweron.org.
New Jersey Statewide Heating Assistance and Referral Energy Service, Inc. (NJSHARES) - is a non-profit organization which administers an energy-assistance program that assists households who do not qualify for federal or state energy programs and whose income does not exceed 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Each client fills out an electronic application with the assistance of a local community-based organization. Applications are taken by more than 230 participating intake agencies at local sites throughout the state. Eligibility is determined by income and household size. The maximum grant awarded by New Jersey SHARES is $700 for heating and $500 for electric service. Clients heating with electric may receive up to $700 on their electric heat account. Grants are distributed year-round based on funding availability.
Eligibility Guidelines for NJ SHARES
Reside in New Jersey
Be experiencing a financial crisis, such as a job loss or illness
Be behind on their energy bill, or need a fuel delivery
Have income over the limit for federal programs such as the Low Income Energy
Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and state programs such as the Universal Service
Have an income level that does not exceed 400% of the Federal Poverty Level
Have made a good-faith payment of $100 or more within 90 days of applying for
NJ SHARES (for gas and electric customers; deliverable fuel customers are
excluded from this rule)
Income Guidelines for Senior Citizens and People with a Disability:
Applicants 65 years of age or older, with households of one or two members, will be eligible for NJ SHARES if the maximum household income is $70,000 annually or $5,833 monthly. Proof of age is required.
Applicants receiving Federal Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, with households of one or two members, will be eligible for NJ SHARES if the maximum household income is $70,000 annually or $5,833 monthly. Applicants must show proof of Federal SSD benefit.
For more information, visit NJ Shares.
Winter Termination Program
This program is in effect from November 15 through March 15. The program prevents residential gas and electric customers who participate in the Lifeline, LIHEAP, USF, Work First New Jersey/Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (WFNJ/TANF), Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD), and those who are unable to pay their utility bills due to circumstances beyond their control such as unemployment or illness from having their gas or electric service disconnected during the winter months. The Program is administered by the Board of Public Utilities. To enroll in this program you must call your utility company and explain why you need this protection. For more information on the Winter Termination Program, call 800.624.0241.
NJ Comfort Partners
This program is designed to improve energy affordability for households who earn less than 225% of the Federal Poverty Level. This program objective is accomplished through the direct installation of energy efficiency measures, personalized customer energy education, and counseling. Participants are asked to partner with the program to develop and carry out a household energy savings action plan.
Program participants receive all efficiency measures and energy education services free of charge:
Direct installation of cost-effective energy efficiency measures in the home (determined on a home-specific basis) which can include: efficient lighting products; hot water conservation measures (water heater insulation, water heater pipe insulation and energy-saving showerheads and aerators); replacement of inefficient refrigerators; thermostats; insulation upgrades (attic, wall, etc.); blower door-guided air sealing; duct sealing and repair; heating/cooling equipment maintenance and other dwelling-specific measures
Comprehensive, personalized energy education and counseling
For more information, visit NJ Comfort Partners.
NJ SHARES Helps with Water Bills
New Jersey American Water (NJAW) - NJ SHARES administers the NJAW H2O Help to Others Program™. Customers who qualify may receive a grant of up to $500 and/or a discount on their monthly fixed service charge. Their Low Income Payment Program (LIPP) is designed to assist New Jersey American Water’s most economically challenged customers. This aid can be equivalent to as much as 20% of a customer’s monthly bill, depending on eligibility. For both programs, applicants must be 200% or below FPL, made a good faith payment of $100 within 90 days of applying, and be at risk of shutoff. Applications are taken through the NJ SHARES agency network or online. For more information, visit NJAW or call 1.800.272.1325.
NJ SHARES administers a water assistance program for Suez Water (formerly United Water) customers in need. There is no income guideline for the program. Customers must be experiencing a financial crisis, have to make a good faith payment of $20 within 90 days prior to applying to qualify for a maximum grant of $100. Applications are administered through the NJ SHARES agency network or online. Learn more and apply online here or call 1.888.942.8080.