Utility Assistance Programs
In today's difficult economic times, many families are struggling to keep up with rising utility bills among their many economic pressures. If you find yourself having difficulty paying your utility bills:
- start by determining whether you qualify for any available assistance plans,
- talk to your utility about setting up a payment plan, and
- in the longer term evaluate whether you can take advantage of energy efficiency programs to help manage your ongoing energy consumption and energy bills.
The Division of Housing and Community Development in the Department of Workforce Services has a complete listing of available utility assistance programs.
HEAT (the Home Energy Assistance Target Program) is a federally funded program that provides winter home heating assistance and year-round crisis intervention for eligible low-income households throughout Utah. The HEAT program opens every November 1st for the heating season. Customers may receive an application for HEAT assistance from: http://jobs.utah.gov/housing/seal/heat.html.
The State Weatherization Program is funded by federal funds through HEAT and the Department of Energy as well as utility ratepayer funds to help weatherize homes and to provide emergency repair or replacement of furnaces and air conditioning units. For more information click here: http://jobs.utah.gov/housing/wap/index.html
Utility Programs: Rocky Mountain Power and Questar Gas Company have ratepayer-funded low-income assistance programs. Customers contribute to these programs as part of the standard rates they pay. Not only do they benefit low-income customers in times of need, but studies have also shown that paying for these programs in rates have offsetting rate benefits. Typically, utilities will see lower costs associated with collection, arrearages, and reconnections.
- The Home Electric Lifeline Program (HELP) provides HEAT-eligible customers of Rocky Mountain Power with a monthly discount off their electric bill.
- The Energy Assistance Fund provides HEAT-qualified customers of Questar Gas with a one-time credit per heating season (the actual amount of the credit varies each year.)
The Utah Telephone Assistance Program (Lifeline) is funded through state and federal Universal Service Funds (USF), approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the State of Utah. These public funds provide a discount for monthly phone services to qualified low-income households. You can apply for Lifeline telephone assistance at the same time as you apply for HEAT or you can apply specifically for Lifeline assistance. Click here for more information, including an application.
Federal law limits Lifeline service to one recipient per household except in the case of group homes or multiple families within the same home. It is important for customers to evaluate the different available plans before selecting a provider as the offerings vary significantly.
There is one landline provider of Lifeline services for every geographic region of the state. Those applications are handled through the Utah Telephone Assistance Program (UTAP).
In addition, the following wireless providers have been approved to provide Lifeline services in Utah:
- Assurance Wireless (associated with Virgin Mobile)
- Blue Jay Wireless
- Budget Wireless
- Cricket Wireless
- i-wireless (associated with Smith's and other Kroger stores)
- Life Wireless (associated with Telrite)
- ReachOut Wireless (associated with Nexus Communications)
- SafeLink (associated with TracFone)
- Tempo Communications
- Total Call Mobile
Please note: There may be some delay after a provider is approved before service offerings are made available for your locality. Other wireless providers are in various stages of applying for approval. Check back for additional provider and program options.
Please note: inclusion on this list does not imply any connection to or endorsement from the Office.
Some companies provide reduced cost access to high speed internet for their qualified low-income customers. For more information see:
- Utah Searchable Guide to Community Resources
- American Red Cross - Utah
- Catholic Community Services of Utah