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Applications for federal Home Energy Assistance Program now being accepted

National Grid is reminding customers that applications are being accepted for the federally-funded Home Energy Assistance Program. The program provides assistance to income-eligible families who need help paying their energy bills. It also offers financial aid to households in a heating or heating-related energy emergency.

The level of assistance varies depending on household income, household composition and heating fuel type in relation to income. For example, a family of four with an annual gross household income of $57,564 can qualify for HEAP assistance.

Customers who receive funding also will be enrolled in National Grid’s Energy Affordability Program, which provides eligible customers with an automatic monthly bill discount.

HEAP assistance is limited and awarded on a first come-first served basis and does not need to be paid back. Customers who feel they may qualify should contact HEAP immediately to determine eligibility:

∫ In upstate New York, visit the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance website at otda.state.ny.us/main/heap. Alternatively, those interested in applying can call their local county Department of Social Services or the state HEAP Hotline at 1-800-342-3009. Meanwhile, customers ages 60 and older who need information on applying can call their county Office for the Aging. More information can be found on the New York State OTDA website, mybenefits.ny.gov.

∫ HEAP information is also available on the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance’s website at otda.state.ny.us/main/heap.

National Grid also provides information on how to make energy bills more manageable. Visit www.ngrid.com/discount to learn about energy efficiency and various billing options available for customers, including the budget billing plan that spreads payments out more evenly throughout a year and various payment options for customers who may have difficulty paying their bills.

Managing bills through energy efficiency

National Grid provides easy-to-implement efficiency tips on its energy efficiency web page. Here are a few examples:

∫ Replace five incandescent lights with ENERGY STAR-rated light bulbs, and save $9 a month.

∫ Turn off lights, appliances, TVs, stereos and computers when not in use, and save about $9 a month.

∫ Unplug your electric space heater or hot tub, and save $41 a month.

∫ Recycle your second, older refrigerator, and save $23 a month and earn a rebate from National Grid.

∫ Washing clothes in cold water can save $9 per month.

∫ Repair leaky faucets, and save $6 per month.

∫ Unplug electronics with remote control or “instant on” features, and save $4 a month. An advanced power strip will do the work for you.

∫ Install a programmable thermostat that lowers the setting at night and when no one is home, and save $15 a month.

∫ Caulk or weather-strip around windows and doors to keep warm air in, and save $13 a month.

∫ When buying new appliances, always choose ENERGY STAR-rated, and save $11 to $24 a month for the life of the appliance.

The company’s website also offers winter safety tips, including carbon monoxide precautions. In addition, the National Grid Marketplace is a one-stop shop for energy-efficient products. There, site visitors can learn about rebates on Wi-Fi thermostats, lighting, water-saving products, and more. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority also offers tips and programs.

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