Utility Bill Assistance Programs - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Utility Bill Assistance Programs

 

 

 

Consumer information for the Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP)

What the CEAP offers Texans ("Eligible Activities")

  • Addresses the needs of the household in developing goals for self-sufficiency through case management, education and a co-payment utility plan (which financially assists with up to 12 months of utility bills);
  • Provide relief to those low income elderly and/or disabled households most vulnerable to the high cost of energy for home heating and cooling from fluctuations in energy costs by providing financial assistance, paying up to 4 of the highest bills during the year;
  • Provide assistance in an energy-related crisis: assist with energy needs during severe weather or supply shortages; and
  • Replace, repair and/or retrofit inefficient heating and/or cooling systems.

Who is eligible to participate in the CEAP ("Target Populations")

  • Households at or below 125 percent of federal poverty guidelines; and
  • Households who provide documented need (as determined through the application process).

Once the above provisions are met, then priority is given to:

  • Roughly equivalent to extremely low- to very low-income households (0-60 percent of the area median family income);
  • Elderly
  • Disabled
  • Families with small children or special health conditions.

There is no categorical eligibility and CEAP benefits are based on need.

Significant program features

  • Serves every county in Texas
  • Not an "entitlement" program, which means that:
    • One must apply for the assistance
    • The assistance is not limitless (there are caps for assistance)
    • The assistance is determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Seeks to promote energy self-sufficiency
  • Provided special heat relief assistance during 1998 heat wave

How the program works

The CEAP is administered through 51 subgrantees (entities who provide the energy assistance services on a local level), which collectively cover all 254 counties of the state. These subgrantees are:

  • Community Action Agencies
  • Nonprofits
  • Local Councils of Government (COGs)
  • Units of local government

The subgrantees are responsible for determining how to distribute the funds on their local level. They determine the:

  • Application process:
    • Every subgrantee develops their own application in compliance with TDHCA requirements
  • Distribution process: Each subgrantee is to:
    • Conduct local outreach (educate the community about the program)
    • Conduct home visits
    • Provide CEAP services
    • Document the services provided

How to apply for CEAP assistance

To locate the local CEAP service provider (subgrantee) nearest you, call the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affair's energy assistance section, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., toll free at (877) 399-8939.

Others involved in Texas' energy assistance efforts

Texas Railroad Commission: because they regulate propane and natural gas in the state, they can best identify households who use the resources, and vendors who sell them.

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