RADFORD – Electric bills are typically more expensive during colder winter months, but help is available if you're having a hard time making ends meet.
New River Community Action is taking applications for one-time assistance with electric bills for those who qualify. It's part of a partnership with AEP's neighbor-to-neighbor dollar energy fund hardship program. Eligible customers receive a one-time grant that is applied directly to their electric bill.
NRCA CEO Terry Smusz told 10 News this is a widespread problem in the New River Valley.
“We often see low income individual, especially this time of year who have a hard time paying their electric bill,” Smusz said.
If you qualify as low-income and have an outstanding balance of at least one hundred dollars, you could qualify for help to prevent your power from being shut off.
The AEP grant is a last-resort fund that goes beyond assistance offered by other sources. To qualify, electric service must be cut off or there must be an active termination notice.
According to AEP, the outstanding balance must be at least $100 and payments totaling $100 must have been made during the 90 days prior to applying for assistance. Applicants 62 years of age or older are required to show proof of payments totaling $75 during the 90 days before applying. Assistance from other organizations or programs do not count toward proof of prior payments.
Assistance is available on a first come, first served basis to those with gross household incomes of 150 percent or below Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.
"The maximum qualifying annual income for a family of two is $24,360, and $36,900 for a family of four," Smusz said.
The program is available on a first come first serve basis and is only available as fund are provided from AEP.