Utility Bill Assistance



Find how low income families can keep cool during the summer.

Low income families may struggle to pay higher utility bills during the warm summer months. There is help out there for them, everything from government financial assistance to pay electric or AC bills to air conditioning tune ups, free weatherization measures, energy saving steps to save 30% on summer utility bills and more. Another way for lower income families to get assistance during the summer is by DIY steps to take around the home, such as furnace tune ups, using blinds, and so much more.

Assistance for cooling bills combines grants or payments plans to pay utility bills (which are more for low income families, seniors, or the disabled) and it also includes DIY steps. These are free to do and anyone can take them. For example, it may be possible to reduce your summer cooling bills by up to 30% by these free DIY steps.

Financial assistance for low income families during the hot summer months

There are really two options out there. Both are for low income, struggling families. There may also be summer cooling bill help for the elderly, sick, or disabled – but they will also need to have limited income as well as savings (assets) available to them.

When it comes to financial aid, LIHEAP is the main option out there. Many states, in particular states that are not use to hot humid weather (northern and midwestern) allow LIHEAP to pay summer cooling bills. Or LIHEAP may offer a free fan to help cool a home or apartment. A community action agency generally takes applications for the program. Read more on LIHEAP.

During the summer, many utility companies (regardless of the state) provide payment plans or budgeting billing options to their customers. They also do energy audits of a home. This can help the family make it through the warm months and keep their electricity or AC unit running. This is often combined with a free energy audit, which will determine where warm air is seeping into the house and where cold air is leaving. Find how to get a free energy audit.





DIY steps to take to save money on summer cooling bills

As noted, households can do a lot of different things to cut back on their usage during the summer. While this is not direct financial assistance for paying an utility bill, it gets the family to the same place. As an example, a dollar saved (or $50) is just as good as a dollar in financial aid (or $50!). It is fairly simple (and free!) for a low income family to save 10 to 30% on their summer cooling bills.

Whether you rent or own a home, there are many options out there. They include some or all of the following.

-Government weatherization – This is free for low income families and those in poverty. AC unit tune ups, insulation, caulking, and so much more is available.

-AC unit tune ups and spring maintenance– Make sure your air conditioner is running efficiently during the hot weather. Find how spring maintenance helps AC units. It can be done anytime in the summer too.

-Programmable thermostats – These are cheap, simple to install, and can save (just by themselves) 10% off summer cooling bills. More on programmable thermostats.

-Window film – Low income families can afford this; it tends to be cheap. It reflects the hot summer sun off the windows, in effect keeping the home cooler than it otherwise would be. Read benefits on window film.

-AC units can break down. Ensure they are efficient and fixed, which can save money on monthly utility bills during the summer. Find top causes of AC unit problems.

Fans - Fans are cheap to use and many lower income families can benefit from them in the summer. Find details on using ceiling fans to save on cooling bills.

Many other DIY steps can be done. Almost all of these do it yourself type tips are free to do (which is great for low income families) or they have a minimal cost. Find how to cut back on energy costs.





There are many things you can do to save money on high summer cooling / air conditioning bills as noted above. There are also some government and utility company assistance programs available for low income families. In either case, it is possible to both (1) get help and (2) keep your home cool (for an affordable price) during the heat of summer.


By: Jon McNamara


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