1. Where can I obtain help with paying my heating and electric bills?
The Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP) is available to help consumers
who need help with paying their winter heating and/or yearly electric bills.
Consumers may apply for the Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) for
help with their heating bill (gas, electric or oil). Payments are made directly to
your fuel provider or utility company one time per year. In addition, consumers
may apply for the Electric Universal Service Program (EUSP). This program
provides assistance dollars that are applied to reduce future electric bills. The
consumer is required to participate in budget billing to receive this grant. The
grant is available once per program year. In addition, consumers may be eligible
for help with past due electric bills provided they had not received arrearage
retirement within the past seven years. To obtain more information, including the
income eligibility requirements, contact OHEP.
In addition, consumers may contact the Fuel Fund of Maryland. The Fuel Fund
pays a portion of an eligible customer’s outstanding bill and you are responsible
for paying the rest. You must have received all other government and program
help first before contacting Fuel Fund. Households can receive help from Fuel
Fund once every 12 months.
2. If I receive a termination notice, what help can I obtain from the Office of
External Relations (OER)?
If you receive a termination notice, you must first contact the utility company to
request an extension and/or a payment arrangement. Often if you contact the
utility before the notice expires, the utility will try to work with you as long as
you are able to make a reasonable offer to pay what you owe. If the utility is not
willing to give you an extension and/or payment arrangement, then you can
contact OER for assistance.
OER is not a consumer advocacy office. OER will try to assist you with
obtaining an additional extension or payment arrangement. However, you are
required to tell OER how you intend to pay on your past due bill in addition to
keeping up on current charges. OER will refer you to the OHEP, Fuel Fund and
may suggest additional places for you to contact.
3. How do I contact OER?
OER staff is available to assist you Monday through Friday, except holidays,
between 9 a.m.-Noon and 1-4 p.m. To reach OER call toll-free at 1-800-492-
0474, option #3 then press #1or call (410) 767-8028, press #1.
You can also file an online request for an extension and/or payment arrangement
through our website.
4. My gas and/or electric service has been turned off – what should I do?
If you gas and/or electric service has been turned off, the first thing you should do
is contact the utility to find out what they are requiring as payment to have them
restore your service. The utility by law can require that you pay the entire past
due bill, a reconnection fee, and part of a deposit as a condition to restore your
service. If you are unable to pay the amount the utility is requiring that you pay,
you should seek assistance from the Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP)
first. If you qualify for assistance, your Maryland Energy Assistance Program
(MEAP) grant can be used to pay off your arrearage. In addition, you should
apply for the Electric Universal Service Program (EUSP). This program provides
assistance dollars that are applied to reduce future electric bills. You are required
to participate in budget billing to receive this grant. In addition, you may be
eligible for help with past due electric bills provided you had not received
arrearage retirement within the past seven years. Finally, you should apply for the
Utility Service Protection Program (USPP). As a USPP participant, you can have
your service reconnected between November 1 and March 31 without paying a
reconnection fee and deposit. To obtain more information about these programs,
including the income eligibility requirements, contact OHEP.
After you applied for these grants and if you still do not have enough to get the
service reconnected, you should contact the Fuel Fund of Maryland. The Fuel
Fund pays a portion of an eligible customer’s outstanding bill and you are
responsible for paying the rest. You must have received all other government and
program help first before contacting Fuel Fund. Households can receive help
from Fuel Fund once every 12 months.
Additional referral information is provided