Mayor Jimmy Davis reminded the public that the Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation (BEOF) offers energy assistance programs for people in Hudson County who are struggling to pay their bills. This assistance is made possible by funding from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the federal government.
The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEA) helps residents with their heating and cooling bills. LIHEAP (the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) is a federally funded program that helps low income households (both homeowners and renters) pay for heating costs. These costs include electric, natural gas, oil, and other deliverable fuels. Even if your heat is included in your rent, you may qualify. The household must meet the gross income guidelines, and the utility bill must be under the householders’ names. LIHEAP grants are also available for medically necessary cooling costs. Applications are available now at the BEOF office. The current LIHEAP Program began on October 1, 2015, and will run through April 30, 2016. BEOF Executive Director Samantha Howard said, “Winter has arrived. It is cold outside. The cost of keeping warm is a harsh reality. You may qualify for financial assistance with your PSE&G bill. Please apply for help at the BEOF.”
Additionally, programs are available to help make energy bills more affordable for low-income customers. The Universal Service Fund (USF) is a program created by the N.J. Board of Public Utilities to help low-income households pay for their electric and natural gas costs. To be eligible for USF, your household must 1) be income-eligible and 2) spend more than three percent of household income on gas and/or electricity; or spend more than six percent of household income on electricity, if you heat with electricity. If you are eligible, USF can lower the amount you have to pay for natural gas and electricity. This is a year-round program that might benefit you.
If you fall within the income guidelines listed below, you will receive a benefit towards your bill, such as PSE&G, oil, or propane. The USF also has income eligibility limits. Other programs are available for households that are over the guidelines listed below and are struggling to pay their bills, such as Page Grant and NJ Shares. For LIHEAP, the income limits range from $1,962 per month for a household of one person to $7,928 per month for a household of twelve. For the USF Program, the income limits range from $1,717 per month for a household of one person to $8,390 per month for a household of twelve.
You can also contact Susan Tierney, Program Manager, at 201-437-7222, extension 7235, for more information. Applications are available at BEOF, 555 Kennedy Boulevard (between 21st and 22nd Street), Bayonne, NJ 07002. Office hours are Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. through 4:00 p.m., and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.