New Jersey residents can dial 211 for information on health and human services, community resources and government assistance. Or go to the website, www.NJ211.org.
The following is a summation of the various programs that are available to consumers in the State of New Jersey:
Comfort Partners – This program is designed to improve energy affordability for income eligible households. This objective is accomplished through the direct installation of energy efficiency measures, personalized customer energy education and counseling. The Comfort Partners Program is available to any New Jersey household with significant electric and gas use, having an income at or below 225% of the federal poverty guidelines. Call toll-free at 888-773-8326 for details or assistance.
Winter Termination Program – This program is in effect from November 15 through March 15. The program prevents residential gas and electric customers who participate in the Lifeline, Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), Work First New Jersey/Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (WFNJ/TANF), Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) from having their gas or electric service disconnected during the winter months. The Program is administered by the Board of Public Utilities. For more information on the Winter Termination Program, call 800-624-0241.
Lifeline Program – Lifeline is a program that offers $225 to persons who meet the PAAD eligibility requirements or who receive SSI. This includes utility customers as well as tenants whose utility bills are included in their rent. Lifeline benefits are provided for only electricity and natural gas. Approximately 314,000 people received over $70 million in Lifeline benefits last year. For more information about Lifeline, call 800-792-9745.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program – LIHEAP is a federally funded program that provides subsidies every winter to help low income families pay their home heating cost. The program typically runs from November 1st to March 31st, although it may be extended if necessary.
LIHEAP funds can be used for the payment of home oil, natural gas, electric heating, propane and kerosene. Households whose heating costs are included in their rent may also be eligible for these funds. The amount of the benefit will be determined by income and household size. New Jersey residents can call 800-510-3102 for information about the program and LIHEAP applications.
New Jersey Statewide Heating Assistance and Referral Energy Service, Inc. – NJSHARES is a non-profit corporation organized to provide assistance to individuals and families living in New Jersey who are in need of temporary help in paying their energy bills. To qualify for NJ SHARES, a person or family must be facing a financial crisis and not be eligible for welfare. Recipients must also have a history of good-faith payments of their utility bills. Eligibility is determined by New Jersey SHARES’ local social service agencies located throughout the state. Upon approval, recipients may receive a one-time grant of up to $700 for gas, up to $300 for electric, or up to $700 for electrically heated homes. You can contact NJSHARES at 866-657-4273.
Universal Service Fund (USF) Program – The State of New Jersey created the Universal Service Fund (USF) program to help make energy bills more affordable for low income customers. The goal of the USF program is to ensure that income eligible NJ utility customers pay no more than 6% of their annual income for their natural gas and electric service combined. Households with income equal to or less than 175% of the Federal Poverty Level are income eligible. The program is administered by The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. For more information about USF, please go to www.state.nj.us/bpu/assistance/programs/index.html#4 or call toll free at: 866-240-1347