Utility Bill Assistance



Payment plans for utility bills.

When you are struggling to pay your utility bills, most companies offer some form of payment plan. A utility company will tend to work with their customers to give them more time or flexibility to pay off a balance on the account. Or another option which is very common is often referred to as budget billing, or an equal payment plan. Both can help anyone in need or that has a limited income.

Learn more about both of these payment plan programs below. Fid how they can assist you with your utility bills as well as some pros and cons of them.

Payments plans for struggling households

Many utility companies will offer a payment plan to qualified low to moderate income customers if they are going through a financial hardship. It is a form of short term assistance. Note that all companies do not offer it and the terms and conditions will vary.

In general, a payment plan is a form of financial assistance that is intended to provide the customer more time to pay off any balance on their account, or arrears. As an example, say a household unexpectedly has a primary wage earner pass away and the balance on the account was $200. If you call your utility company right away and explain your situation, they may offer a payment plan. Maybe they will provide you 4 months (or something like that) to pay off the balance, so $50 per month. That will absolutely help a customer by providing them time.
Really, at the end of the day, a payment plan gives you time. More weeks or months to pay off past due utility bill(s). they provide time to qualified customers before shutting off their electricity. Some companies offer them – some don’t.





Budget billing type payment plans

These tend to be very common. Each utility company may offer them under a different name. It can include Budgeting Billing, Level Payment, Equal Payment, or something else. They all tend to operate the same way in an effort to help a customer pay or management their utility bills. Many are free to enroll into.

They are not a form of direct financial aid. Rather they level out a bill into equal monthly installment, which can help you budget for your utilities. The customer may pay the same amount 12 months of the year. It is a form of financial panning.

Why would a company offer budgeting billing or why would you sign up? What it does is level out your bills. Most people tend to use more electricity in the warmer summer months or colder winter months, so those utility bills would be higher. Budgeting billing takes that into account and charges you a fixed monthly amount.

Now you may pay a little less than you would otherwise in the winter or summer months, but you may pay a little more for your utilities that you otherwise would in the spring or fall months. So the utility bill is leveled out.

Lets say that last year your utility bills were as follows

January  $175
February $160
March $150
April $120
May $130
June $170
July $190
August $200
September $150
October $130
November $130
December $150





That totals $1855 all last year. . For thus year, you sign up for balance billing. Budget billing works by taking that amount and dividing it by 12 months, which comes to $154.58 per month. This is what you would be charged the following year…a level, fixed amount. It makes it easier to plan and budget for your utility bills. This is reset each year.

At the end of day, when struggling or if you need help in planning for your utility bills, call your company. As about payment plans and even other energy bill assistance they may offer.


By: Jon McNamara


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