The Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP) provides bill assistance to low-income households in the State of Maryland to make their energy costs more affordable and to help with the prevention of loss and the restoration of home energy service.
Energy assistance will not reduce the amount of any other public assistance benefits you receive, such as TCA or Food Stamps. Nor will it reduce Social Security benefits.
OHEP provides four separate grants:
The Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) provides financial assistance with home heating bills. Payments are made to the fuel supplier and utility company on the customer’s behalf.
The Electric Universal Service Program (EUSP) provides financial assistance with electric bills. Eligible customers receive help that pays a portion of their current electric bills. Customers who receive EUSP are placed on a budget billing plan with their utility company. Budget Billing is a tool that utility companies provide to help spread out year annual utility bills into even monthly payments to avoid spikes in your bill caused by seasonal fluctuations in energy use. Please check with your utility company on eligibility requirements and budget billing policy.
Arrearage Retirement Assistance helps customers with large, past due electric bills. If eligible, customers may receive forgiveness of up to $2,000 towards their past due bill. Customers must have a past due bill of $300 or greater to be considered eligible. Customers may only receive an arrearage grant once every seven years, with certain exceptions.
The Supplemental Targeted Energy Program (STEP) provides an additional benefit for customers who take steps to reduce their energy costs. Customers participate in educational workshops focused on lowering and maintaining their energy bills. Customers must also follow through with referrals to other services that may help to address monthly energy and other costs. An additional grant is paid to the utility supplier as different requirements of the program are met over the course of a year. STEP eligibility is based on a calculation of a household’s income and energy expenses. Applicants must receive EUSP Bill Assistance to be eligible for STEP.
Other OHEP services:
The Utility Service Protection Program (USPP) is designed to protect low-income families from utility turn-offs during the heating season. All MEAP eligible customers may participate in USPP. Participation also requires a year-round even monthly budget billing. Failure to make consecutive payments may result in removal from USPP.
Weatherization and Energy Efficiency Services customer information is referred to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for programs that can provide improvements and repairs to homes at no cost. These improvements can help lower utility bills and make the home more comfortable. DHCD’s energy efficiency and weatherization programs support the EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act. For more information, call 1-855-583-8976 or visit dhcd.maryland.gov/Pages/EnergyEfficiency