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Home Energy and Utility Discounts
Including Gas, Electric and City Utilities
Date: August 14, 2009
Author: David Smidt, SeniorDiscounts

The average annual energy bill for a Single Family Home in the United States is $2,200. This cost can be quite a burden, especially for fixed-income households, when coupled with greater gas prices for our automobiles and increasing prices on many consumer goods. But there are programs to help older adults with the cost of energy bills; you just need to know where to look.

Some of the best places to begin looking are with your local government and the company which supplies your energy.

Many local and state government agencies have programs for older adults in need of assistance with paying home energy costs. These programs may have different requirements for qualification. Some may require that you be of a certain age or income level, while others may require both.

Age Requirements:
If there is an age requirement for participation, expect it to begin anywhere from 60 to 65 years of age. But every program is different and age requirements can be lower or higher depending on the program and location, so it is worth checking with your state or local senior services agency regardless of your age.

Income Requirements:
If there is an income requirement, there may be no age specification to receive a discount. Programs will instead look at the number of people in your household and the total monthly income (which may include Social Security benefits) to determine if you are eligible for a discount.

To locate these government programs, start with your city’s web site. Most major cities have a Department for Senior Affairs with relevant contact information. Many larger cities also post the senior home energy programs on the site along with application forms or contact numbers. You can also call the local city information line located in the government pages of your phone book.

You can also try contacting your local home energy supplier. Many energy providers are required to provide discounts on energy usage to low income households as well as seniors. You can start by visiting your energy company’s web site, but you may find often the information is difficult to track down. The simplest way may be to call your local provider directly and ask if they provide any assistance for fixed income senior households. You can usually locate the company’s customer service number on your current energy bill.

Discounts for both local government and energy providers vary. City program discounts may depend on the amount of income per household as well as previous energy usage; the lower the household income, the higher the discount amount. Energy providers will typically provide a set percentage off your total heating bill and may stipulate a maximum set dollar amount they will provide per month. So you may find a 20% discount on your energy bill, but only up to the first $20.

We hope this information helps save you some money in the upcoming months and years. You may contact us with any questions at: [email protected].

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