Beginning July 1, the Ohio Development Services Agency and Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission have help available for income-eligible Ohioans to maintain their utility service through the Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program (HEAP).

The HEAP Summer Crisis program helps eligible Ohioans pay an electric bill, purchase an air conditioning unit or fan or pay for central air conditioning repairs. This year, the program will run from July 1 until Sept. 30.

“This year, we’ve extended the length of the program and expanded eligibility requirements so we can help more Ohioans during this health crisis,” Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency said. “We’re working with Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission every day to help Ohioans in need.”

In 2019, more than 918 families in Williams, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding and Van Wert counties were assisted through the HEAP Summer Crisis Program.

The HEAP Summer Crisis Program assists low-income households with an older household member (60 years or older), or households that can provide physician documentation that cooling assistance is needed for a household member’s health. Examples of conditions can include lung disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma, among others.

This year, households in which a member was diagnosed with COVID-19 in 2020, have a disconnect notice, have been shut off or are trying to establish new service on their electric bill are also eligible for assistance.

Ohioans can visit www.energyhelp.ohio.gov to start their application prior to their required appointment. This year appointments can be held over the phone or in person. To schedule an appointment call, 419-219-4641 or log onto www.nocac.org/emergency-services.

Eligible households can receive up to $500 if they are a customer of a regulated utility, or $800 if they are a customer of unregulated utilities such as electric cooperatives and municipal utilities. The assistance is applied to their utility bill, or to purchase an air conditioning unit or fan, or pay for central air conditioning repairs. Ohioans must have a gross income at or below 175% of the federal poverty guidelines to qualify for assistance. For a family of four the annual income must be at or below $45,850.00.

Also new this year, Ohioans enrolled in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus Program (PIPP) who meet the above criteria may be eligible for assistance toward their default PIPP payment, first PIPP payment, central air conditioning repairs, or may receive an air conditioning unit and/or fan.

For more information about the Summer Crisis Program and what is needed to apply, contact NOCAC at 419-636-4924. Additional information can also be found at www.energyhelp.ohio.gov or by calling 800-282-0880.

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