You might be eligible for a heating assistance program this winter

The Heritage Park neighborhood of Virginia Beach. (Southside Daily file photo/Courtesy of Paul Merullo)
The Heritage Park neighborhood of Virginia Beach. (Southside Daily file photo/Courtesy of Paul Merullo)

VIRGINIA BEACH — The colder weather is on its way and some household budgets may be unable to keep up with the demands of using more energy to heat their homes.

Virginia Natural Gas wants to help its customers better prepare for this year’s heating season by reminding those who may be eligible for financial assistance of programs available that could help offset winter heating costs.

General enrollment for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program began Tuesday and continues through Nov. 9.

The federal- and state-funded energy assistance program helps low- and fixed-income families, including senior citizens and persons with disabilities, meet their energy needs during the winter heating season.

Eligible customers’ monthly gross income may not exceed $2,720, or about $32,630 annually for a family of four.

In Virginia, LIHEAP is administered by the Virginia Department of Social Services.

Applications can be submitted online at commonhelp.virginia.gov/access or at local departments of social services, from the second Tuesday in October through the second Friday in November.

For information or to find a local department of social services, call 211.

Other energy assistance programs available to Virginia Natural Gas customers are:

  • EnergyShare is a supplemental program that provides a one-time annual grant to qualified residential customers. The program is administered by the Salvation Army and funded through direct contributions from Virginia Natural Gas employees and customers who can make donations via their monthly natural gas bill payment. To apply for the grant, customers can contact their local Salvation Army to schedule an appointment, or call the EnergyShare hotline at 757-965-9012, ext. 1, for more information.
  • Virginia Natural Gas Budget Plan provides a convenient way for customers to plan for and pay their monthly natural gas bill. The plan evens out the highs and lows of natural gas costs throughout the year by allowing customers to pay a consistent amount every month for a 12-month period, making household budgeting a little easier. The Budget Plan is a free service for Virginia Natural Gas customers, to learn more call 866-229-3578.
  • The energySMART program helps customers manage their costs by lowering out-of-pocket expenses for energy efficiency improvements through rebates and free home energy assessments and energy saving products. For more energy-saving tips visit virginianaturalgas.com/energysmart.

For more information about each of these programs or help managing energy costs, click here.

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