Help with Winter Utility and Fuel Bills
A Resource Guide
Here is a list of some of the programs in Maine that may be able to help with your utility and fuel costs.
2 1 1 Maine
In addition to the programs listed below, there may be other local resources available from organizations such as The Salvation Army, Red Cross, local churches or community organizations. For more information about local energy initiatives in Maine, contact 211Maine. They can be contacted by phone by dialing 211 or on the web at www.211maine.org
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP or Fuel Assistance)
LIHEAP helps both homeowners and renters with their heating costs. Household income must be lower than 150% of the poverty level. If anyone in the household is over age 60, below age 2, or has a health condition that puts them at risk of hypothermia then the income limit can be higher - 170% of poverty level. (This equals about $2,144 per month for a family of 2.)
If heat is included in your rent, you can still get help. If you apply and get even a little bit of help, then your monthly Food Supplements benefit may go up. If you get LIHEAP then you may also get lower electric rates.
To Apply: You can apply for LIHEAP through your local Community Action Program. You need to bring proof of income, social security numbers, and your address. You can use a utility bill to prove your address.
Weatherization and Furnace Repair or Replacement (CHIP)
- Gives grants to homeowners and renters for weatherization and/or repair or replacement of central heating system.
- Income guidelines are the same as for LIHEAP (see above).
To Apply: You can apply for LIHEAP and you will be considered for this program. You can also contact your local Community Action Program .
Emergency Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP)
You can get this help once per heating season for emergency fuel or to avoid electricity cut-off. You must get LIHEAP (see above) to get ECIP.
To Apply: Apply at your local Community Action Program.
Low-Income Assistance Plan (LIAP)
- LIAP helps low-income homeowners and renters pay for electricity costs by lowering their electric bills.
- If you get LIHEAP, then you may be able to get help from LIAP as well.
- Please note that people who get a rent subsidy (help paying their rent) may not be able to get help from LIAP.
To Apply: You can apply for LIHEAP and LIAP through your local Community Action Program.
Maine Home Repair Network
This program gives 1% mortgages or 0% deferred/forgivable mortgages (i.e. 0% interest rate with no monthly payment) to low-income homeowners for necessary home repairs.
With just one application, you can apply to both state and federal programs that fund renovations or repairs such as:
- Wells and septic system repairs or replacements
- Heating and electrical system repairs
- Roof and chimney repairs
- Structural repairs
- Lead paint mitigation
- Repair or replacement of windows and doors
- Energy efficiency improvements
- Repair or replacement of siding
- Handicap accessibility improvements
- Other health and safety repairs
Pine Tree Legal Assistance Heating Assistance News post updates throughout the heating season on resources that are known to them.
Other Programs That Can Help You
Alternative Aid (AA)
- Helps families with children.
- Family cannot be getting TANF. Families must meet some TANF eligibility criteria such as deprivation (one parent out of the home, one parent disabled, one parent unemployed).
- To get aid, the family must need the help to keep a job or get a job.
- AA can help with many things, like car repairs, housing costs, etc.
- AA can provide up to 3 times the monthly TANF benefit. This equals about $1,455 for a family of 3.
- You can only get Alternative Aid once every 12 months.
- Family income limit is 133% of the federal poverty limit.
To Apply: You can apply for AA at your local DHHS office.
Emergency Assistance (EA)
- Helps families with children under age 21.
- Family income must be less than 100% of the federal poverty limit. Families receiving TANF, PaS, SSI or Food Supplements also quality.
- Helps with different types of emergencies when you don’t have enough money.
The types of emergencies are:
- Rent or Security Deposit
- Mortgage Payments or Property Taxes
- Home repairs (wells, chimney, septic system, etc.)
- Clothing; or special medical equipment.
- Disaster Assistance due to flood, fire, storms, etc.
You can only get EA help once every 12 months.
To Apply: You can apply for EA at your local DHHS office. You will need proof of the emergency.
General Assistance (GA)
- Helps with basic necessities, like housing, fuel, food, utilities, clothing, and medical expenses.
- You must be very low-income. You may need to prove that you have spent your money on basic necessities.
- All towns and cities have this program.
To Apply: You can apply at your local Town Office or City Hall. Call DHHS at 1-800-442-6003 if you have trouble applying.
Maine Sea Coast Mission
This program provides limited crisis emergency assistance that can include some help with heat, electricity, food and other emergency circumstances for the residents of Washington and Hancock counties.
Contact Information: Call (207) 546-4466, or 1-888-824-7258. Maine Seacoast Mission
Rural Housing Repair Loans and Grants
Gives loans and grants to very low-income homeowners to repair, improve, modernize, or to remove health and safety hazards in their rural homes. Rural Housing Repair Loans and Grants
Loans are for up to 20 years at 1% interest. Grants (free) may be for people who are 62 years of age or disabled.
Loan/grant combinations may be arranged for applicants who can repay part of the cost. The program defines ‘very low-income’ as below 50 percent of the area median income. See the following for the program’s income guidelines.
To Apply: Call Rural Development. Listed in the Phone Book under U.S. Government, Agriculture Department. Or call 1-800-352-8963 Ext. 161 and they will connect you to the correct office.
Efficiency Maine has a number of programs to help people lower their energy costs. To find out if you can get help, see the Efficiency Maine website, or call (866) 376-2463.
Appliance Replacement Program
Efficiency Maine, the Maine State Housing Authority, and the state’s Community Action Programs are working together on this program. The Energy Efficiency Low Income Appliance Replacement program replaces inefficient refrigerators and other home appliances, and installs energy efficient lighting in the homes of qualified low-income consumers. Community Action Programs deliver the services.
To Apply: For more information, call toll-free (866) 376-2463, or visit Efficiency Maine.
Note: If you live in Cumberland County, Lincoln County, Sagadahoc County, Brunswick, Harpswell, Pownal, or Lincoln, apply to MaineHousing, not your local CAP.
The Maine Housing Authority can help with housing-related issues.
- MaineHousing, 353 Water Street, Augusta Maine 04330
Phone: (207) 626-4600; Toll Free: (800) 452-4668
TTY: (800) 452-4603; Fax: (207) 626-4678
Other programs may be able to help you with your household costs. This can help free up money so that you have enough to pay for your heating costs. Some of these programs are:
- Food Supplements
- Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
- Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program
- Earned Income Tax Credit
- Transitional Child Care, and Transitional Transportation assistance
There are different eligibility criteria for each of these programs.
If you have questions about these programs, call Maine Equal Justice at 626-7058 or toll free 1-866-626-7059.