Energy/Water Assistance

About the Office of Home Energy Programs

The Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP) provides bill assistance to low-income households in the State of Maryland to make their energy costs more affordable and to help with the prevention of loss and the restoration of home energy service.

Energy assistance will not reduce the amount of any other public assistance benefits you receive, such as TCA or Food Stamps. Nor will it reduce Social Security benefits.

OHEP provides four separate grants:

The Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) provides financial assistance with home heating bills. Payments are made to the fuel supplier and utility company on the customer’s behalf.

The Electric Universal Service Program (EUSP) provides financial assistance with electric bills. Eligible customers receive help that pays a portion of their current electric bills. Customers who receive EUSP are placed on a budget billing plan with their utility company. Budget Billing is a tool that utility companies provide to help spread out year annual utility bills into even monthly payments to avoid spikes in your bill caused by seasonal fluctuations in energy use. Please check with your utility company on eligibility requirements and budget billing policy.

Arrearage Retirement Assistance helps customers with large, past due electric and gas bills. If eligible, customers may receive a grant for up to $2,000 towards their past due bill. Customers must have a past due bill of $300 or greater to be considered eligible. Customers may only receive an arrearage grant once every five years, with certain exceptions. Arrearage grants received between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021 will not count towards the five-year limitation.

Other OHEP services:

The Utility Service Protection Program (USPP) is designed to protect low-income families from utility turn-offs during the heating season. All MEAP eligible customers may participate in USPP. Participation also requires a year-round even monthly budget billing. Failure to make consecutive payments may result in removal from USPP.

Weatherization and Energy Efficiency Services customer information is referred to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for programs that can provide improvements and repairs to homes at no cost. These improvements can help lower utility bills and make the home more comfortable. DHCD’s energy efficiency and weatherization programs support the EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act. For more information, call 1-855-583-8976 or visit dhcd.maryland.gov/Pages/EnergyEfficiency

The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is an emergency water assistance program to assist families experiencing hardship with their water bills. LIHWAP will assist Maryland families who are behind on their drinking water and wastewater bills focusing on accounts that are 30 days or more past due.

The FY2023 LIHEAP Model Plan is available for review and public comment. Please email any questions, comments, suggestions, or concerns to Shanise Smith at Shanise.Smith@maryland.gov. no later than August 31, 2022.

Low Income Utility Assistance Workgroup Meeting

September 8, 2022
10am- 11:30am
Google Meet joining info
Video call link: https://meet.google.com/pez-rgax-tnx
Or dial: ‪(US) +1 443-408-8589‬ PIN: ‪437 392 503‬#
More phone numbers: https://tel.meet/pez-rgax-tnx?pin=8222720919817

Agenda

I. Introductions
II. Update on workgroup recommendations to DHS
III. LIHEAP Model Plan
IV. EUSP Social Security number policy discussion
A. Formal recommendations from the workgroup regarding the issue?
V. Online myDHR application statistics
VI. Outreach and Marketing workgroup recruitment