Heating Bill Help from the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program
Low income Wisconsin families who need help paying utility and utility bills can get assistance from The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP). This federal and state government funded program offers cash grants and other forms of help to struggling and low-income households, and the funds are used to help pay heating, gas and electric bills. While the exact amount of the cash grant provided to applicants will vary, the average heating payment that will be made per household will increase by about 35% from previous years, from $389 to about $525 per qualified household, which is based on a lower than expected caseload of 220,000 Wisconsin recipients.
Struggling consumers need to remember that Wisconsin's has a moratorium on utility and heating service disconnections during the winter. However it does come to an end, in the spring, and the state is always pleased to be able to provide low income and other struggling families with a little extra help to pay their utility and heating bills.
Individuals and families who have already applied for and received benefits from WHEAP will receive additional heating bill help in the form of a credit on their next utility bill. The actual amount of the additional benefit is dependent on family income and the type of fuel that is used.
Wisconsin will make available at least an additional $5 million from Public Benefits funding to assist low and moderate -income households with the payment of their electric bills. this increase was authorized in 2009 by the Wisconsin Act 28.
The moratorium for utility disconnections ends in April of each year. Unfortunately, after the moratorium ends utility and heating service may be disconnected on or after April 16, 2010, if a households heating or energy bills have not been paid or a payment plan has not been arranged with the utility or gas company.
To provide both safety and health protections to families during Wisconsin's cold winters, Public Service Commission rules prohibit utility companies from disconnecting consumers service between November 1 and April 15. To avoid disconnection of their heating or electric service, customers who have fallen behind in payments are encouraged to contact their local utility to set up a payment plan or apply for assistance programs.