Consumer Financial Assistance

If you are having difficulty paying for utilities, please know that you are not alone. Your first step should be to contact your utility as soon as possible. When you call, you can expect help with:

  • Payment arrangement options

  • Financial assistance programs you may qualify for

  • Understanding your bill, household energy usage, and tips for improving efficiency

  • Signing up for usage and billing monitoring alerts

CONTACT YOUR UTILITY COMPANY

There are many state and local resources available to help you pay for utilities and reduce your household utility costs. We understand navigating what’s out there can be overwhelming and have provided a comprehensive list of income-based and other assistance programs below. Please note, some programs run only during certain months of the year. For most of the programs listed here, your local Community Action Agency can help you learn more, check your eligibility and apply.

 FIND A COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY NEAR YOU

If you are experiencing a heating emergency, your local Community Action Agency can help you apply for the Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP), which can provide for emergency fuel deliveries and minor heating system repairs to help you avert an energy crisis.

If you are struggling to meet basic needs such as fuel and food, cities and towns in Maine offer General Assistance to help residents with short-term needs. Contact your town office to learn more and apply or call the toll-free hotline at 1-800-442-6003. 

Electricity

LIHEAP

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps low-income renters and homeowners pay for heating costs, including electric heat as well as oil, propane, natural gas, and other sources. LIHEAP is not intended to pay your heating costs in full but can help to reduce them. LIHEAP is administered by the Maine State Housing Authority (MSHA) and your local Community Action Agency.

 FIND A COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY NEAR YOU

LIAP

The Low-Income Assistance Program (LIAP) helps qualified low-income electricity consumers pay for electricity costs. Eligibility for LIAP is based on eligibility for LIHEAP. If qualified for LIAP, you will receive a credit on the bill you receive from your electric utility based on your income and electricity usage. Contact your utility or your local Community Action Agency to check eligibility and apply.

 FIND A COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY NEAR YOU

ERAP

Maine’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program provides rental and utility relief payments to help eligible renters. Your local Community Action Agency will help you learn more, check eligibility, apply for ERAP assistance, and process eligible expenses on your behalf. If you are currently facing eviction or are at risk of eviction, please contact Pine Tree Legal Assistance or Legal Services for the Elderly. Even if you do not qualify for ERAP, these organizations can assist you.

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GA

If you are struggling to meet your basic needs such as fuel and food, your city/town provides General Assistance to help residents meet immediate needs. Contact your town office to learn more, check eligibility and apply. If you are unable to reach your local GA office or you have questions or concerns, call the Maine General Assistance toll-free hotline at 1-800-442-6003.

LEARN MORE

AMP

If your electric utility account is past due (what’s known as “in arrears”), and you meet eligibility criteria, the Arrearage Management Program (AMP) can help you reduce your past due balance. Your local Community Action Agency can help you learn more, check eligibility, and apply for assistance.

 FIND A COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY NEAR YOU

211

If you just aren’t sure where to turn, don’t lose hope- call 2-1-1. This free, confidential 24-hours-a-day seven-days-a-week telephone and online directory will help you find the help you need. Whether it’s heating and utilities assistance, domestic violence, addiction treatment, health care, or mental health, owe will talk to you to find out what you need and walk you through all the options to find the right service or program for you

CONTACT 2-1-1 MAINE

Heating Assistance

LIHEAP

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps low-income renters and homeowners pay for heating costs, including electric heat as well as oil, propane, natural gas, and other sources. LIHEAP is not intended to pay your heating costs in full but can help to reduce them. LIHEAP is administered by the Maine State Housing Authority (MSHA) and your local Community Action Agency.

 FIND A COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY NEAR YOU

LIAP

The Low-Income Assistance Program (LIAP) helps qualified low-income electricity consumers pay for electricity costs. Eligibility for LIAP is based on eligibility for LIHEAP. If qualified for LIAP, you will receive a credit on the bill you receive from your electric utility based on your income and electricity usage. Contact your utility or your local Community Action Agency to check eligibility and apply.

 FIND A COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY NEAR YOU

ECIP: Energy Crisis Assistance Program

The Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) provides emergency fuel assistance to HEAP-eligible households. A household may be eligible for up to $400 in emergency funds (or 100 gallons) to avert an energy crisis. Contact your local Community Action Agency to learn more, check eligibility and apply.

 FIND A COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY NEAR YOU

Gas

Utility Programs

Customers of Northern Utilities, Inc. d/b/a Unitil, Bangor Gas and Maine Natural Gas receiving service under the residential heating and non-heating rates may be eligible to receive a 30% discount on their delivery and gas supply rates. The discount will apply to all customers identified by the Maine State Housing Authority as eligible for LIHEAP. Once enrolled, customers will receive the discount for 12 consecutive months. Contact your utility to learn more, check eligibility and apply.

 CONTACT YOUR GAS UTILITY

LIHEAP

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps low-income renters and homeowners pay for heating costs, including electric heat as well as oil, propane, natural gas, and other sources. LIHEAP is not intended to pay your heating costs in full but can help to reduce them. LIHEAP is administered by the Maine State Housing Authority (MSHA) and your local Community Action Agency.

 FIND A COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY NEAR YOU

Broadband Internet & Telephone

Telephone Linkup and Lifeline

The Maine PUC recognizes the vital importance of telephone and internet connectivity to public health and safety. Qualifying households can reduce the installation cost of new service hook-ups with the Link-Up Program. The Lifeline program also provides qualifying households with a significant credit for the basic service portion of local telephone bills or internet broadband service. Please note, some local phone and internet broadband companies offer these programs, while others do not. Contact your local telecommunications company or Community Action Agency to learn more, check eligibility and apply.

Weatherization and Efficiency

Maine has some of the oldest housing stock in the nation, which is why MaineHousing and Efficiency Maine offer a variety of income-based and any-income grants, rebates and affordable financing to help you take control of your heating and cooling costs.

MaineHousing Central Heating Improvement Program (CHIP)

MaineHousing’s Central Heating Improvement Program (CHIP) provides central heating system repair and replacement services to low-income households. Priority is given to households that have no heat. In some instances, households may be required to provide a co-payment towards the overall expense. For rental properties, occupied by HEAP-eligible tenants, limited CHIP benefits of up to $400 may be available. Contact your local Community Action Agency to learn more, check eligibility and apply.

MaineHousing SHA Weatherization Program (WAP)

MaineHousing’s Weatherization Program provides grants to low-income homeowners and renters to reduce energy costs by improving home energy efficiency. Weatherization improvements may include insulation, weather-stripping, caulking, and some safety-related repairs. Contact your local Community Action Agency to learn more, check eligibility and apply.

MaineHousing Heat Pump Program

You may be familiar with heat pumps, which are an increasingly popular type of heating and cooling system. When used correctly, heat pumps can increase the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling and thus reduce your energy costs. Heat pumps are dual-purpose: they can heat your home in cold weather months, even at low temperatures, and cool your home in warm weather months. 

Homeowners who are meet eligibility and inspection criteria may qualify for MaineHousing’s Heat Pump Program, which pays for heat pump purchase and installation. Contact your local Community Action Agency to learn more, check eligibility and apply.

 FIND A COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY NEAR YOU

Efficiency Maine Weatherization

For residential weatherization upgrades such as insulation and air sealing, you can receive up to $5,500 in rebates regardless of your income or up to $9,600 in rebates if you meet low- to moderate-income eligibility criteria from Efficiency Maine. 

Efficiency Maine Heat Pump Rebates

Different from MaineHousing’s Heat Pump Program, Efficiency Maine offers rebates of up to $1,200 regardless of your income for the purchase and installation of residential heat pumps. For income-eligible households, you can receive up to $2,400 in rebates. And, commercial incentives up to $4,800 are also available.

CONTACT EFFICIENCY MAINE

Homeowner Assistance Program

If you are at risk of losing your home due to the pandemic, you may qualify for assistance through the Homeowner Assistance Fund, a free, federally funded program for lower-income Maine homeowners.  The $50 million fund is available through the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection and allows homeowners to apply for up to $25,000 in mortgage benefits, including up to $15,000 in property tax assistance and $10,000 in utility payment relief.  To determine if you are eligible visit www.Maine.gov/HomeAssist, call the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection’s hotline at 1-888-664-2569 or visit Maine Housing Counselors for a list of housing counselors in your area.