Who Can Help Me Pay My Power Bill? Exploring Financial Assistance Options

Falling behind on paying your electric or power bill can happen to anyone. Job loss, medical bills, or other unexpected expenses can make it difficult to keep up with utility payments. But you don’t have to struggle alone. There are government programs, nonprofits, and even utility companies themselves that offer financial help for paying power bills. This guide will explore the many options available to assist you.

Government Assistance Programs

Several government-funded programs exist specifically to aid low-income households with utility expenses. These programs can provide bill payment relief weatherization services, discounted rates and other forms of support.


The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded block grant program that helps eligible low-income families with their heating and cooling energy costs LIHEAP provides

  • Bill payment assistance – Helps pay a portion of your utility bill or make repairs to existing heating/cooling systems.
  • Energy crisis assistance – Helps restore services or deliver fuel if your utility was shut off.
  • Weatherization improvements – Provides insulation, caulking, weather stripping and other upgrades to make your home more energy efficient.

To apply for LIHEAP, contact your state LIHEAP office. You can find your state’s contact info on the LIHEAP website.

State and Local Programs

Beyond LIHEAP, many states and communities offer their own utility assistance programs. These can include:

  • Rate discounts – Reduced electric rates for low-income households.
  • Arrearage forgiveness – Credits to help pay down past due balances.
  • One-time assistance – A lump sum payment sent directly to your utility provider.
  • Deferred payment plans – Arrangements to spread out payments over several months.

To find programs available in your area, dial 211 from any phone or search for “utility assistance” and your state/city at 211.org.

Utility Company Programs

Utility providers themselves often have support programs and payment plans for customers struggling to pay their power bills. These company programs can include:

  • Payment arrangements – Agreements to spread payments out over time with no penalty.
  • Bill extensions – More time before a bill is due.
  • Forgiveness of late fees – Waiving late charges if you pay the overdue balance.
  • Budget billing – Pay a fixed amount each month to even out seasonal highs/lows.
  • Energy audits – Professional review to identify savings opportunities.

Call your utility provider directly to discuss your situation and ask about available assistance programs. Explain any financial hardship keeping you from paying on time. Be ready to provide income verification if requested.

If there is a threat of immediate service shut-off, ask about extensions, grants, or other options to possibly delay disconnection while you seek further bill help.

Nonprofit and Community Agencies

There are thousands of nonprofits and community action agencies that provide utility financial assistance on a local level. Some key resources include:

United Way – Has chapters across the U.S. that offer emergency utility grants and referrals to other local services. Call 211 or visit 211.org.

Salvation Army – Provides help through local corps community centers. Visit salvationarmyusa.org.

Catholic Charities – Offers emergency financial assistance across all 50 states. Find a local agency at catholiccharitiesusa.org.

St. Vincent de Paul – A network of volunteers aiding neighbors through home visits. Locate a chapter at svdpusa.org.

Local churches – Many congregations set aside funds to assist members and residents with utilities.

These nonprofits can provide one-time grants, arrange repayment plans, or refer you to other resources. Be ready to explain your situation, show bills and income verification, and provide other documentation as requested.

Borrowing Funds

If you’ve exhausted all other options and need money right away to pay a utility bill, borrowing may be necessary as a last resort. Some potential sources include:

  • Friends/family – Ask relatives or friends to loan you money. Offer to repay in installments.
  • Employer – Request a payroll advance from your workplace.
  • Credit cards – Use cards for the short term, but high interest rates make this option risky.
  • Payday loans – Regulated in some states and very high fees; use with extreme caution.
  • 401k/Retirement – You can take a loan against your 401k. Weigh the pros and cons first.

Only borrow money you know you can repay. Failure to pay back friends/family can damage relationships. High-interest debt can worsen your financial situation over the long term.

Create a Payment Plan

If you’ve secured funds to pay off your overdue utility bill, the next step is to create a payment plan. Contact your utility provider and be ready with the amount you can pay immediately as a good faith payment. Propose a realistic payment schedule for the remainder that fits your budget.

Get any agreed upon payment plan in writing before sending payments. This will help ensure there is clarity about the amount and dates for future payments. Ask that late fees be waived as long as you follow the payment schedule.

Stick closely to your plan. If an issue comes up, contact your utility immediately before you miss a payment. Be proactive in communicating if you need to adjust the schedule.

Conservation Tips to Lower Future Bills

In addition to payment assistance, take steps to decrease energy usage and lower your monthly power bills. Some DIY ways to conserve power include:

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs.
  • Seal air leaks around windows and doors.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces.
  • Use power strips to cut phantom load from electronics and chargers.
  • Set thermostats a few degrees higher in summer and lower in winter.
  • Wash clothes in cold water and air dry when possible.
  • Replace old appliances and equipment with ENERGY STAR rated models.

Hardship with utility bills can happen without warning. But there are always options to avoid service disconnection. Seek help from government and nonprofit agencies, your utility provider’s assistance programs, community resources, and conservation practices. Managing high power bills takes creativity and perseverance, but you can find a way through it.

Who Can Help Me Pay My Power Bill

Find out if you are eligible for LIHEAP and apply

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can help you pay your heating or cooling bills or get emergency services during an energy crisis.

You may be eligible for help with your energy bills based on your income. To see if you qualify and how to apply, contact your states LIHEAP office.

Find out if you are eligible for WAP and apply

For home improvements that save money on energy, you may qualify for help through the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).

Your eligibility for weatherization assistance depends on your income. Or you may qualify if you already receive benefits through a federal assistance program such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To see if you are eligible and how to apply, contact your states WAP office.

This Will Help YOU Save THOUSANDS On Your Electric Bill!


How much does LIHEAP pay in Florida?


What if I’m having trouble paying my utility bills?

If you’re having trouble paying your utility bills, alert your utility company right away; it may be able to help you. Electric and natural gas prices have been rising more than core inflation. There are nonprofits dedicated to helping people pay their utility bills, such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Where can I find help with my utility bills?

Visit Findhelp.org. Tayne says Findhelp.org can also be a resource for those struggling with utility bills; it can connect you with local charities offering assistance with utilities and other expenses. You can type “utilities” into Findhelp.org’s search box to local organizations.

How do I donate to the Energy Assistance Fund?

Just a few pennies can make a difference. Prefer to donate directly? Through United Way, you can simply and securely donate to the Energy Assistance Fund using your credit card, in the amount that’s right for you. Add a monthly fixed donation amount to your bill (ie. $5) or make a one-time donation in any amount. Call 1-800-205-8596.

What does the Salvation Army do with utility assistance?

With utility assistance, our goal is to provide resources that will help families stay in their homes. Salvation Army programs and services vary with local needs. For information on specific programs and locations, contact your local Salvation Army by using the location search. The Salvation Army understands the impact of unexpected life changes.

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