COVID-19 Resources: Utilities

Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

New federal program for rental assistance- ERAP (replacing RAFT as the primary funding for rental assistance through Metro Housing Boston)
Eligibility: 80% AMI Income limit
Income reduced by at least one family member due to COVID-19 pandemic
Utilities: up to $2,500 of utilities overdue - You can reapply if you've received less than $2500 in utility assistance in the last year.
Need an update on an application?  If you applied for assistance to Metro Housing Boston online and it’s been more than 3 weeks, you can contact Metro Housing Boston to get a status update.  Email HCECreferrals@metrohousingboston.org or call 617-544-9330. If you applied through WATCH, please contact Daisy at daisy@watchcdc.org or 781-570-4423.

Fuel Assistance (Oil, Gas or Electric Heat Program)

The Fuel Assistance Program provides financial assistance to low-income residents who either rent or own. The assistance is paid directly to the energy provider, such as the oil, gas or electric company. In our area, Community TeamWork in Lowell distributes the federal fuel assistance payments.

Individuals can now apply online for fuel assistance!

  • Individuals who are able to apply on their own can apply online, create an account, upload documents, and sign the application.
  • At the end of the form, the applicant will be able to make the [required] follow-up phone appointment with Community Teamwork staff.
  • CTI staff will call the client on the day/time of the appointment to review their application

Instructions to apply online:

To apply for fuel assistance, please go to https://toapply.org/CTI [Community Teamwork of Lowell]

To change language-go to upper left-hand corner of screen

             

If you are not able to apply online by yourself, please fill out this form 

If you are not able to fill out the form, then please call and leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible: English, 781-570-4394; Spanish 781-577-0207

You will need to have the following documents in order to apply:

  • Photo ID for all household members 18 and older (MA License, Passport, etc.)
  • Birth Certificate for all under age 18
  • Social Security Cards for all members of your household
  • If you rent, provide the name, address, and telephone number of your landlord, and a current copy of your lease or a letter from your landlord. If your rent is subsidized, please submit your housing addendum or tenant profile
  • If you own your home, please submit your mortgage, if any, property tax bill, annual home insurance and condo or lot fees if applicable
  • A current gas and electric bill with your name , address and account number
  • A recent heating bill with your name and account number
  • Proof of income (if any) for all household members

Clarification on “Social Security Number” Policies

  1. Assistance is pro-rated based on the number of people in the family who have Social Security Numbers (SSNs).
  2. Households with NO family members with SSNs are encouraged to apply anyway and will be considered for (but not guaranteed)f any assistance that the Community Teamwork agency has available at that time.

Salvation Army

To apply, call 781-894-0413, preferably between 1 and 3 PM, and request to speak with Jennifer.
If you speak only Spanish, tell the person who answers the phone.
The maximum grant is usually one month of utility bills.

Please make payment plans only if you are certain you can comply with the agreement.  If you need help reviewing the options, please contact Suzi@watchcdc.org or call 781-570-4394.  Do not sign a contract or verbally agree to a contract you do not fully understand.  

The person whose name is on the bill must be the person to apply.

Eversource Programs

Payment Plan If you missed payments and have a past due balancePay off your balance  over a period of time with no interest and no money down. Call 866-861-6225.

Budget Billing  Manage your budget and have consistent bill each month. Set up budget billing and pay a fixed rate each month based on your average annual usage. Call 866-861-6225.

Income-Based Assistance Programs  Designed for lower-income customers, you may be able to participate in these programs if you meet income and eligibility guidelines as set by your state.

New Start  Eliminate portions of your overdue balance by making payments each month. Call 866-861-6225.
Can only be used once in a lifetime.

Discount Rate Receive a discount on your monthly energy bill if you qualify.   Call 866-861-6225.

National Grid

Payment Plans 


Energy Efficiency 

Get free or reduced priced weatherization and energy efficiency measures for renters and homeowners. 

Go to MassSave.com or call 978-459-6161.

Shut Offs - Gas and Electricity

The Department of Public Utilities (DPU)

The DPU prohibits utility companies from shutting off service from November 15 to March 15, if anyone in the home:

  • Is under 12 months or older than 65,
  • Has a serious or chronic illness like diabetes, ADHD, asthma, or
  • Cannot afford to pay for heat for the winter months (November-March, and sometimes to April).

Please contact your utility company for more information.

Internet and Phone

Comcast 

Internet Essentials - This plan gives you $9.95 internet connection. Call to see if you qualify.  1-855-846-8376

Comcast offers two plans for people that are over 60 days late in paying their bill. The New Start and The Matching Program, both forgive some portion of debt but the key is not skipping any month. Otherwise individuals are out of the program and they can't apply again. It also avoids disconnection for lack of payment.


Lifeline

Lifeline is a federal program that lowers the monthly cost of phone and internet. Eligible customers will get up to $9.25 toward their bill. You can only use Lifeline for either phone or internet, but not both. To get Lifeline, find a company near you.

If you receive Food Stamps or Mass Health, you may be eligible to receive a free cell phone with a certain number of free monthly minutes. You can apply online at www.safelinkwireless.com or  www.assurancewireless.com.


Other Resources