Photo by callison-burch, via Flickr

Marylanders can apply to receive assistance with their heating, electric and gas utility bills with more than $154 million from the state of Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday.

Maryland has made available about 40% more energy assistance funds from the approximately $110 million that was distributed in Fiscal Year 2020.

“Too many Marylanders have faced undue financial hardships during this unprecedented crisis, including the inability to pay their utility bills,” Hogan said in a statement. “We will continue to maximize our resources to help as many Marylanders as possible.”

Low-income households can get help with keeping their energy costs affordable and avoid losing their home energy service with programs allocated through the Maryland Department of Human Services’ Office of Home Energy Programs.

Such programs include the Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP), Electric Universal Service Program (EUSP), and Electric and Gas Retirement Assistance Programs.

The MEAP assists Marylanders with home heating bills, natural gas arrearage, crises, and furnace repair or replacement by paying fuel suppliers and utility companies on customers’ behalf.

The EUSP places electric customers on a budget billing plan to split their annual bill amount into even monthly payments to avoid seasonal spikes in costs.

The Electric and Gas Retirement Assistance Programs can provide eligible customers up to $2,000 toward their past due electric bill and assist with a portion of their current bills. To be eligible, customers must have a past due bill of at least $300 and can only receive a grant once every seven years, with some exceptions.

Marylanders can apply online for any of the programs by visiting the Office of Home Energy Programs website.

People can only receive benefits once per year and must reapply each fiscal year to continue receiving funds.

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at marcus@baltimorefishbowl.com...