The Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation (BEOF) offers energy assistance programs for people who are struggling to pay their bills. This assistance is made possible by funding from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the federal government.
The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEA) helps residents with their heating and cooling bills. LIHEAP (the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) is a federally funded program that helps low income households (both homeowners and renters) pay for heating costs. These costs include electric, natural gas, oil, and other deliverable fuels. Even if your heat is included in your rent, you may qualify. The household must meet the gross income guidelines, and the utility bill must be under the householders’ names. LIHEAP grants are also available for medically necessary cooling costs. Applications are available now at the BEOF office. The LIHEAP Program runs from October 1, 2014, and will run through April 30, 2015.
Additionally, programs are available to help make energy bills more affordable for low-income customers. The Universal Service Fund (USF) is a program created by the N.J. Board of Public Utilities to help low-income households pay for their electric and natural gas costs. To be eligible for USF, your household must 1) be income-eligible and 2) spend more than three percent of household income on gas and/or electricity; or spend more than six percent of household income on electricity, if you heat with electricity. If you are eligible, USF can lower the amount you have to pay for natural gas and electricity. This is a year-round program that might benefit you.
The USF/HEA 2015 has maximum income limits (per month) for eligible applicants. The following monthly income limits apply: household size of one – $1,701 (USF Program) and $1,945 (LIHEAP Program); household size of two – $2,293 (USF Program) and $2,621 (LIHEAP Program); household size of three – $2,886 (USF Program) and $3,298 (LIHEAP Program); household size of four – $3,478 (USF Program) and $3,975 (LIHEAP Program); household size of five – $4,070 (USF Program) and $4,651 (LIHEAP Program); household size of six – $4,662 (USF Program) and $5,328 (LIHEAP Program); household size of seven – $5,254 (USF Program) and $6,005 (LIHEAP Program); household size of eight – $5,846 (USF Program) and $6,681 (LIHEAP Program); household size of nine – $6,438 (USF Program) and $7,358 (LIHEAP Program); household size of ten – $7,030 (USF Program) and $7,595 (LIHEAP Program); household size of eleven – $7,622 (USF Program) and $7,754 (LIHEAP Program); and household size of twelve – $8,214 (USF Program) and $7,912 (LIHEAP Program). If the household size is more than twelve, add $592 for each person (USF Program) and $158 for each person (LIHEAP Program).
Applying is easy and friendly. Staff is always available to help fill out the applications. Applications are available at BEOF, 555 Kennedy Boulevard (between 21st and 22ndStreet), Bayonne, NJ 07002, (201) 437-7222. Contact: Sue Tierney (ext. 18). Office hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday 8:30 a.m. through 4:00 p.m., Wednesday 8:30 a.m. through 6:00 p.m., and Friday 8:30 a.m. through 3:30 p.m.