STATEWIDE — The approaching heating season can cause some difficulties for low-
income households due to increased demand for more energy to stay warm and the associated higher energy bills.
Virginia Natural Gas (VNG) wants to help customers better prepare for this year’s heating season by reminding those who may be eligible for financial assistance about available programs that could help offset winter heating costs.
“We know it’s a difficult time and VNG is committed to helping households meet their energy needs,” said Tiffany Gilstrap, manager of Energy Assistance for Southern Company Gas, parent company of Virginia Natural Gas “There are many assistance programs available, and we encourage our customers to contact their local social services office to benefit from them this winter.”
Customers may be eligible to receive state and federal assistance to help pay energy bills through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). General enrollment for LIHEAP begins Tuesday, Oct. 12, and continues through Friday, Nov. 12.
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. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis for those meeting certain eligibility requirements. For example, the monthly gross income of eligible households may not exceed $2,839 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 local departments of social services. For more information or to locate a local department of social services, call 211 Virginia (dial 2-1-1) or (804) 726-7000.
Other energy assistance programs and resources available to Virginia Natural Gas customers include:
- 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 make donations via their monthly natural gas bill payment. To apply for a 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.
- Payment Arrangement Plans are available for customers to help manage their natural gas bills by spreading out costs over time. VNG is now offering extended payment arrangement options of up to 12 months for customers impacted by the pandemic and will eliminate the required down payment.
- Virginia Natural Gas’ Budget Payment 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 12 months, making household budgeting a little easier. To learn more, call (866) 229-3578.
- The Energy Efficiency Program helps customers manage their costs by lowering out-of-pocket expenses for energy efficiency improvements through rebates, free home energy assessments and energy-saving products. For energy-saving tips visit virginianaturalgas.com/energyefficiency.
- Consider making a Gift Payment any time of the year to help someone in need. Give the gift of warmth by making a gift payment toward someone’s Virginia Natural Gas bill. Download the gift payment form, fill it in and mail it to us at the address you’ll find on the form, or call us at (866) 229-3578.
- Every family deserves reliable energy at a price they can afford. For more information about any of these programs or help managing energy costs, please visit virginianaturalgas.com/energyassistance.