There’s already a chill in the air. Winter is upon us.
So, what do you do if you live in New Jersey, are unemployed, or underemployed, money is tight and you’re struggling to pay to heat you home or apartment? If you are a Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) customer, you may be eligible for a variety of financial assistance programs available through the utility company.
In addition to their assistance programs, PSE&G also refers eligible customers to similar federal and state assistance programs, such as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and New Jersey Statewide Heating Assistance and Referral for Energy Services (NJ SHARES).
LIHEAP cash grants
Many low-income PSE&G customers who are: seniors, have families with children, or have disabilities can receive cash grants from LIHEAP to pay their monthly utility bills, even if their monthly rent already includes utility costs.
LIHEAP offers emergency assistance to approved customers of up-to a $450 credit on their monthly PSE&G bills. To receive help, customers must have already received a shut off notice and must have the LIHEAP payment posted on their PSE&G heating (electric or gas) account.
The New Jersey Universal Service Fund (USF) heating assistance program
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) created the USF to help make energy bills more affordable for low-income PSE&G customers. Once you apply, and are eligible for the program, you can significantly lower the amount you pay for your monthly electric and gas bills. To apply, call 1.800.510.3102.
The NJ Temporary Relief for Utility Expenses Grant (TRUE) program
The state BPU also provides substantial funding to the non-profit Affordable Housing Alliance (AHA), which administers TRUE cash grant assistance to low/middle income New Jerseyans struggling to pay their PSE&G electric and gas bills. The maximum TRUE grant is $750 for gas and $750 for electric service.
The NJ SHARES energy assistance program
NJ SHARES is a last resort, energy bill, assistance program available to help struggling, low-income PSE&G customers. If you are a New Jersey PSE&G customer facing a hardship and you need temporary help paying your energy bills you may be eligible for financial assistance through this the statewide, year-round program.
This grant pays a maximum $300 payment on a customer’s account for electric bills and a $700 payment for heating bills. Residents who use electric heat may receive up-to $700 on their account.
To be eligible, applicants must exhaust all other available sources of private/government assistance and must demonstrate that they made a good faith effort to pay their energy bills before their hardship occurred. To complete their applications for this program state residents must ask local community-based organizations, such as the Salvation Army, or any other community-action agency, to help them.
State residents may receive cash assistance from NJ SHARES if they do not qualify for any other New Jersey, or federal, programs and their income does not exceed 400 percent of the federal poverty level, which means to be eligible for NH SHARES a:
- single-person household must earn less than $5,960 annually
- two-person household must earn less than $62,040 annually
- three-person household must earn less than $78,120 annually
The NJ SHARES program accepts donations from individuals, customers, and local businesses. All donations are tax deductible. To apply, or donate, call 1.866.657.4273.
The New Jersey Lifeline Credit Program
State PSE&G customers can receive up to a $225 yearly credit on their electric or gas bills through the NJ Lifeline Credit Program. To qualify, customers have to be New Jersey residents, and 65 years old, or older, or they have to be state residents who are 18 years old and receiving Social Security Title II Disability benefits.