For those living in Maryland who cannot afford to pay energy bills, there are several resources they can use to get assistance in paying their energy bills and some to help energy bills go down. These resources will help families to not have to worry about making the decision between food and warm house for the night. For low-income families struggling with paying bills, knowing they have one less worry is a wonderful feeling.
The first resource struggling families or individuals can use is the Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP). The MEAP will help pay home heating bills. They make payments to the local utilities on the applicant’s behalf. There is also limited assistance provided through MEAP to replace broken or inefficient refrigerators and furnaces. Those who qualify for help through this resource include people who are elderly or disabled and live on a limited income, families who use food stamps, people who receive certain veterans or Social Security disability benefits, and for those who receive Public Assistance. Of course, the main reason for getting assistance with energy bills is because of income, so that is taken into consideration when MEAP helps Maryland residents with heating bills.
In connection with MEAP, a resource called Utility Service Protection Program (USPP) is available to help some families with their utility bills. USPP protects low-income families from utility cut-offs. It also helps MEAP eligible families to enter into a program where their monthly payments are the same year round. MEAP will pay part of the bill, and then the family will be responsible for the same amount of money each month.
A resource similar to MEAP is the Electric Universal Service Program (EUSP). The criteria for being eligible for EUSP assistance is much the same as the criteria for being eligible for MEAP assistance. While MEAP pays for any heating bills, EUSP focuses upon helping Maryland residents especially with electric bills. They will help with current electric bills, past electric bills, and with energy measures to help reduce future electric bills.
A final resource Maryland residents can use to help them with the cost of energy is the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). While all the other programs help to pay for energy bills, WAP focuses upon bringing the energy bills down. WAP provides home weatherization services such as plastic window coverings, stripping, and caulking free of charge to eligible families. This can help them to have a more energy efficient home and in turn will help their utility bills to go down.
Of course everyone whether they qualify for government aid with utility bills or not can do their part to conserve energy in their own homes. Turning off lights when they aren’t being used as well as unplugging unused electronics and appliances can help to save electricity. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are always a good idea as well, because they will use less electricity while lasting longer. Not only does this help with energy bills, but because they last longer, people are helping to not use so much waste.
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