Energy aid still available
Dozens of community resources are available to low-income residents through a number of state programs, businesses and local service agencies including Southeast Vermont Community Action.
Green Mountain Power, a Vermont utility company serving roughly 94,000 residents, has a relatively new program called Energy Support, which offers low-income customers assistance with their electric bills.
The three-year program, in its second year, offers up to a 25 percent discount to clients whose income is at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
"Paying bills can be a struggle for people with low incomes," Philene Taormina, AARP Vermont advocacy director said in the December AARP Bulletin. "We hope this electric discount will relieve some of the burden."
Residents who believe they qualify for the discount can contact the local community action office, which is Southeast Vermont Community Action (SEVCA) in this region.
SEVCA has worked with Green Mountain Power in the past, partnering with the company for several programs, including a free weatherization service to low-income households.
These are helpful programs that can aid Vermonters who run the risk of losing their electricity during the winter, said Pat Burke, family service director with SEVCA. "That just is another tool for us to help keep the power on," she added.
Additionally, low-income Vermonters can still apply up until the last day of February for the state's Fuel Assistance Program. The later residents apply, the later the benefit will be issued and could amount to a smaller sum.
SEVCA officials are available to help complete the application.
Residents seeking information about fuel assistance or any community resource within the state may dial 2-1-1 for a database containing more than 730 agencies with 2,278 programs. Run through the United Ways of Vermont, the 2-1-1 program is a good first step for people looking for health and human services.
Windham County residents eligible for any of the community programs may also contact SEVCA at 802-254-2795 in Brattleboro or 802-722-4575 in Westminster for more information.
Chris Garofolo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311 ext. 275.
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