LIHEAP can help with utility bills

Higher heating costs projected for this winter amid pandemic
Posted at 5:29 PM, Oct 23, 2023

HELENA — MTN’s Stormtracker Weather team is forecasting the season’s first blast of winter weather this week and that will have many of us reaching for the thermostat. For those who may struggle or hesitate because it could increase the bill, help is available.

LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) assists low-income households in paying for utilities in order to stay warm during the cold winter months.

“LIHEAP is there to help them stay warm and to get through those winter months without them going without food or paying their rent,” says Lead Eligibility Technician with RMDC, Diana Johnson.

Folks in the tri-county area of Lewis & Clark County, Broadwater County, and Jefferson County can utilize Rocky Mountain Development Council for this possibly life-changing help.

Eligibility depends upon factors such as income and number of people in a household. If your entire household is a recipient of SNAP benefits, the application process could be dramatically simplified.

Johnson says that this program can even help in the event of a faulty furnace.

“And people just, you know, sometimes do not save for those kinds of emergencies. And that’s what we’re there for, is to help pay for anything to fix it or to replace their heat against the winter months,” says Johnson.

LIHEAP assistance is available from September 1 through April 30. Eligible individuals also automatically receive a year-round 25% discount on their Northwestern Energy electricity bill and 30% discount on their Northwestern Energy gas bill.

In addition to LIHEAP, a similar program, the Weatherization Assistance Program, works to better weatherize homes.