Funds now available to help needy customers with utility bills

Low-income and senior Georgians who aren’t able to pay their heating bills were given a $10 million boost from state utility regulators this week when the Public Service Commission approved the use of emergency funds to ensure that families and individuals don’t go cold this winter.

Starting in December, these emergency assistance funds will be used to assist with heating bills as well as reconnect heat for those who have had their heat turned off within the last 45 days. The $10 million is coming from the universal service fund that Atlanta Gas Light usually utilizes to extend natural gas pipelines to where new homes and businesses are being built. Money for the fund comes from AGL’s industrial customers and its wholesale services unit, Sequent Energy Management.

A few things to know and do to receive this credit:

Consumers can receive up to $160 total after showing their annual income is less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level or 60 percent of the state poverty level. Customers must contact their natural gas marketer in order to apply for the $160 bill credit.  The bill credit is not automatic, even for customers served on Atlanta Gas Light Company’s (AGL) system who currently receive the low income senior citizen discount each month.  If customers do not call to apply, they will miss out on the credit.

This also is the case of other non-senior citizen low income customers who may qualify, such as SCANA Group 1 Regulated Provider customers.  These customers will need to contact their marketer as soon as possible to apply.

Many people don’t know whether they are served on AGL’s system, since their gas bill comes from their natural gas marketer.  Customers of the following natural gas marketers can apply:

  • Commerce Energy
  • Coweta-Fayette EMC Natural Gas
  • Fireside Natural Gas
  • Gas South
  • Georgia Natural Gas
  • Infinite Energy
  • Mx Energy
  • Scana Energy
  • Stream Energy
  • Walton EMC Natural Gas

This money is only available to natural gas customers, not electric customers. Still have questions? Give us a call at (404) 525-1085 or Clare McGuire, Georgia Watch’s director of the consumer energy program.