YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Keeping the heat on for some Valley residents can sometimes come down to a choice between putting food on the table and paying their energy bill.
Penny Martin with the Ohio Development Services Agency says they have seen an increase in the amount of applications filed for energy assistance this year.
One of those programs is the Winter Crisis Program, which provides a one-time payment toward a utility bill if the utility has been disconnected or threatened to be shut off. It’s also available for households with less than one-quarter tank of bulk fuel.
“Ohioans at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty level can apply for the Winter Crisis Program at a local energy assistance provider. Many times, that is a local Community Action Agency or community assistance organization,” Martin said.
The Winter Crisis Program runs through March 21.
Another program to help manage energy bills is the Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP), which allows customers to make affordable monthly energy payments year-round.
Kelly Hatas, Hocking Athens Perry Community Action, said the plan has helped many avoid the Winter Crisis Program.
“People are able to make the monthly payments and not end up in emergency situations,” Hatas said.
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