Posted Thursday, October 1, 2009 --- 1:42 p.m.
Release from the Office of Governor Doyle:
Governor Doyle: Home Energy Plus Energy Assistance Program Available to Help Residents with Heating Needs
MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today urged Wisconsin residents to take action now to keep their households warm during this winter. Residents are urged to contact their local utility if their heat is currently disconnected and to take advantage of the state’s energy-efficiency programs as well low-income bill payment assistance programs to ease the burden of household energy costs during the winter season.
“During a Wisconsin winter, no family should have to choose between putting food on the table and heating their homes,” Governor Doyle said. “There are many programs in place to ensure that hard working low-income households make it safely through the season and now is the time to take advantage of the services the state offers.”
Under Wisconsin law, consumers cannot be disconnected during the heating moratorium period from November 1 to April 15 so long as they are connected at the start of the moratorium. Customers who are currently disconnected must make arrangements with local utility to pay outstanding bills in order to have their service restored. If a consumer has not made arrangements to pay an outstanding bill, the utility is not required to reconnect the service until payment arrangements have been made.
Residents may also qualify for assistance paying their heating bill through the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP), which provides financial assistance to low-income residents who may struggle to pay utility bills this winter. WHEAP is part of the state’s comprehensive Home Energy Plus program which provides assistance with emergency energy needs, emergency furnace repairs, conservation service and weatherizing low-income households.
Due to increased federal funding and recent changes in program eligibility, many more households across the state may be eligible for heating assistance this winter. For 2009-2010 heating season, the income eligibility limit for WHEAP and Weatherization has increased from 150% of the federal poverty level to 60% of the State’s Median Income. The state anticipates nearly 256,000 Wisconsin families will receive energy assistance to pay a portion of their fuel costs this heating season, a 40 percent increase over last year.
Payments under these programs depend upon household size, income level, and home energy costs. A family of four, with an annual income of $45,067 or less may be eligible for energy assistance.
To receive more information about how to apply for the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program, call the Home Energy Plus hotline at 866-432-8947, or visit www.homeenergyplus.wi.gov.