LIHEAP: Fighting Poverty in Massachusetts
LIHEAP FY 2014 Funding LIHEAP Income Eligibility Level
$140,014,388 (includes tribal awards)
60% State Median Income
LIHEAP FY 2014 Funding
LIHEAP Income Eligibility Level
LIHEAP FY 2013 Benefit
Heating: minimum – $450 deliverable fuel, $260 gas and electric
Heating: maximum – $750 deliverable fuel, $430 gas and electric
LIHEAP Households Served
(Estimate for FY 2013)
LIHEAP Program Dates
Heating and Crisis: November 1 – May 15
Massachusetts Utilities With Low-Income Rate Assistance
Over a dozen gas, electric and combination IOUs offer utility rate discounts totaling nearly $40 million per year and ranging from 20 percent to 42 percent off the low-income customer bill. These discounts were negotiated during the past two decades and were required to continue under Massachusetts’ restructuring legislation. Households earning less than 175 percent of Federal Poverty Guidelines, or receiving one of several means tested programs, including LIHEAP, Food Stamps, TANF and SSI are eligible.
Discount Rate: If you are currently eligible for fuel assistance, or are receiving one of the benefits listed below, you may also be eligible for NSTAR’s Discount Rate. Please note, eligibility for the Discount Rate isn’t limited to these programs, as other means-tested public benefits are also eligible.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC)
- Emergency Aid to Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC)
- Food Stamps
- Refugee Resettlement Benefits
- MassHealth Basic and Standard
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)
- Head Start
- Free and Reduced School Lunch or Breakfast Program
- Mass. Veterans Benefits (GLC. 115)
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) for Surviving Spouse or Parents of Veterans (Dependency Indemnity Compensation letter required)
- Improved Veterans Disability Pension (Non-Service Connected Disability letter required)
- Commonwealth Care Plan, Types 1, 2 or 2A
- Health Safety Net Plan – Primary or Secondary (not partial)
Please call (800-566-2080) or email us if you have any questions. Online application is available on NSTAR’s website.
Forgiveness Program: If you are experiencing difficulties paying your utility bill and your income falls within 60 percent of the State Median Income level, you may be eligible to participate in NSTAR’s Forgiveness Program. Call 866-315-2496 for more information or visit the website.
Monthly discount for customers with income at or below 175% FPG and who receive assistance from certain public benefit programs. Download an application or call 1-800-322-3223.
Western Massachusetts Electric
Residential Discount Rate: Discount rate for income-eligible residential customers who participate in certain state and federal assistance programs and whose income falls within 175% of federal poverty guidelines as listed on the current Residential Discount Rate. For more information, call at 781-4300 (within the Springfield calling area) or 800-286-2000 (outside the Springfield calling area) or visit your local community action agency. Application: English, Spanish.
NUStart: An arrearage management program designed to help you manage your electric bill. WMECO will help you develop a monthly budget. Each month you make a timely payment you will earn credits to pay off your outstanding bill and WMECO will take a portion of what you owe off your old balance. Eligibility requirements: must be a current WMECO residential customer; must apply for and receive an energy assistance payment; balance must be $100 or more and at least 60 days overdue; income must fall at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. Call the NUStart team at 800-286-5844 (toll-free) for information or to enroll.
Discounted Residential Rates: Discounted non-heating and heating delivery charges are available to low-income customers who qualify for any means-tested public assistance programs or LIHEAP and household income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. Call 1-800-292-5012 or visit the website.
Residential Arrearage Management Program (RAMP): Provides financial assistance to eligible low-income customers with active accounts that have outstanding bills in arrears. Eligible low-income customers may qualify for forgiveness of past due bills for natural gas service. Program participants receive credits to their past due account up to a lifetime maximum of $3,000 once all program requirements have been met (some restrictions may apply). Contact your local Community Action Council.
Berkshire Community Action Council (BCAC)
Great Barrington 413-528-1947
North Adams 413-663-3014
Franklin Community Action Council (FCAC)
Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) Program: RAFT is a state-funded program for families at risk of homelessness. RAFT helps families who are behind on rent, mortgage payments, or utility bills. RAFT also helps families who have to move but do not have enough money to pay a security deposit, utility startup costs, or first/last month’s rent. Families can get up to $3000. Funding is limited. Not all eligible families get help. Eligibility requirements include:
- Homeless family lacking permanent residence or at risk of homelessness
- Family of two or more with dependent child under 21 or disabled adult
- Sufficient income to support future expenses
- Rent/mortgage payment cannot exceed 50% of income
- Meet 50% of median income guideline for household size
- Documentation and verification of address, income, financial hardship and utility arrearage
Citizens Energy / Distrigas
Heat Assistance Program (CEDHAP): Provides a $150 utility bill credit to eligible households who heat with natural gas. The program is run by Citizens Energy and funded by Distrigas. Call 1-866-427-9918.
Essex County Gas Company
Twenty percent discount. Residential heating rate will change from R-03 to R-04. Secondary users (non-heat) will change from R-01 to R-02.
Unitil/Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company
Discount Rate Program for residential customers who qualify for any means-tested public assistance programs and household income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. Applications are available online in English and Spanish. Call 1-888-301-7700 or visit the website.
Littleton Electric Light Department
Senior Citizen and Disabled Customer Discounts: The base customer charge is waived for senior citizens (age 62 and over) and handicapped persons. Call 978-540-2222.
Middleborough Gas and Electric Department
Senior Discount: Customers 60 years and older can apply for an additional 5% senior discount, which is added to the 10% prompt payment discount when the bill is paid within 10 days and the account is current. Call 508-947-1371 or visit the website.
North Attleborough Electric Department
Residential Assistance A 5: Discount rate available upon verification of a customer’s receipt of any means tested public benefit, or verification of eligibility for the low income home energy assistance program, or its successor program, for which eligibility does not exceed 175 percent of the federal poverty level based upon a household & gross income. Call 508-643-6300, 1-800-394-2662 or visit the website.
Massachusetts Utilities with Low-Income Energy Efficiency Resources
Customers of Massachusetts regulated electric and gas companies who receive the low-income discount rate may also be eligible for free energy efficiency services that may include energy audits, electric baseload measures, appliance efficiency services, attic and wall insulation, air sealing and heating system replacement. Contact local Community Action agencies or call 1-800-632-8175.
Energy Efficiency Program: Heating customers are eligible for 100% of the installed cost of the following energy-saving measures:
- Attic Insulation
- Duct Insulation
- Floor Insulation
- Wall Insulation
- Pipe Insulation
- Clock Thermostats
- Crawl Space Insulation
- Instrumented Air Sealing
Call 1-800-944-3212 or visit the website.
City of Boston
Senior Home Emergency Home Repair Program: Helping seniors prepare their homes for the winter is a specialty of DND’s Senior Homeowner Services unit. DND is assisted by a number of neighborhood-based agencies, including NOAH; ESAC, Kit Clark and United Southend Settlements. Call 617-635-0600.
Free home weatherization is available to income-eligible Massachusetts customers. Homeowners or renters may qualify for up to $4,500 in free weatherization measures. All services are provided by a licensed and insured local company. Please call your local Community Action Agency for more information.
MassSAVE: Energy efficiency specialists will answer your energy-saving questions and determine your eligibility for a Home Energy Assessment. The assessment includes an analysis of your home’s energy use, advice for saving energy and rebate offers on recommended energy improvements. Call 800-632-8300 or visit www.masssave.com for more information.
Income Eligible Energy Efficiency: If you currently receive NSTAR’s Discount Rate, you may be eligible for a free home energy consultation, which may include the installation of conservation measures such as lighting upgrades, insulation and sealing of air leaks and possibly a new refrigerator, freezer, heating system and/or window air conditioning unit if the existing appliance is determined to be eligible and inefficient. Your rate code and usage information appears on your NSTAR bill. If you qualify and would like more information, please contact your local Community Action Agency or visit the Mass Save website.
Unitil (Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company)
Customers of Massachusetts’ regulated electric and gas companies who receive the low-income discount rate may also be eligible for free energy efficiency services that may include energy audits, electric baseload measures, appliance efficiency services, attic and wall insulation, air sealing and heating system replacement. Contact local Community Action agencies or call 1-800-632-8175.
State utility resource information provided by the LIHEAP Clearinghouse, a service of the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.