Starting on Monday, Jan. 4, those facing financial distress in Guilford County, and across the state, can apply for help with their energy bills.
The State of North Carolina announced this week that households will be able to request help from the state’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Program or from the Crisis Intervention Program.
Requests can be filed online at www.epass.nc.gov if there’s no other way to keep the lights on. Those who apply will have to show financial need – based on federal poverty levels – as well as an inability to pay the costs out of savings or other liquid assets.
The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program is a seasonal program that provides for a one-time vendor payment to help eligible households cover their heating bills. This year, state officials know that a lot more North Carolinians are struggling to pay their bills thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent job loss and economic downturn. Applications for this assistance will be accepted from Jan. 4 to March 31 – or until funds are exhausted.
The Crisis Intervention Program is a year-round program for people and families who are experiencing “a heating or cooling related crisis.” In other words, this program helps out when someone is in danger of experiencing a life-threatening or health-related emergency and there’s no assistance available from other sources.
Crisis Intervention Program applications will be accepted until June 30 – or until the available money is depleted.
Guilford County residents seeking either form of help can call the Guilford County Department of Social Services to apply by phone, or they can print out a paper application from www.epass.nc.gov and mail it or fax it in – or drop it off at the department’s Greensboro or High Point location.
In a Tuesday, Dec. 29 press release announcing the availability of the assistance, Dr. Mandy Cohen, the secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services said that, due to the pandemic, her department is attempting to make it as easy as possible for people to apply for the help.