Temperatures are going down across the state — Governor Hochul and New York State are here to help you keep the heat on.
According to the New York Public Service Commission, electric and natural gas bills are expected to be higher for the 2022-2023 winter season than last year, with natural gas projected to increase by an average of about 29% statewide.
If you’re at risk of losing your heat this winter, we are here to help.
Apply for Heating and Utility Assistance
Apply for Heating and Utility Assistance
In October 2022, Governor Hochul announced $373 million for home heating aid to assist New Yorkers during cold weather months. In the 2021-2022 winter season, nearly 1.7 million HEAP benefits were issued to New Yorkers, the highest in at least the past five years.
Eligible homeowners and renters may apply for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which can provide up to $976 depending on income, household size and how they heat their home. A family of four may have a maximum gross monthly income of $5,485 or an annual gross income of $65,829 and still qualify for benefits — an increase from the previous year's threshold due to the higher heating cost forecast for this winter.
You can apply for a Regular HEAP Benefit:
When the HEAP Regular benefit is open you may apply online if your household resides outside of New York City. This application is for a Regular HEAP benefit only.
When the HEAP Regular benefit is open you may apply in person at your HEAP Local District Contact.
When the HEAP Regular benefit is open, print and mail the completed HEAP application:
- Outside of New York City mail it to your HEAP Local District Contact, or
- New York City residents can mail it to: NYC DSS/HRA/HEAP, PO Box 1401, Church Street Station, New York, NY 10008
Applications for assistance are accepted at local departments of social services in person or by telephone, with funding provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Here is a list of local offices by county. Residents outside of New York City may also apply online for regular heating assistance benefits. New York City residents may download an application and obtain program information here.
Applicants must meet all eligibility requirements to receive a regular HEAP benefit, which vary by income and household size, and be in active collections or otherwise facing disconnection or termination of service. Applicants must also be the utility customer of record or pay a utility directly.
Heating Equipment Repair or Replacement Benefit
Help is also now available to assist eligible homeowners if their primary heating equipment is unsafe or not operating and their furnace or boiler must be repaired or replaced. Benefit amounts through the HEAP Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement program are based on the actual cost incurred to repair or replace the essential heating equipment -up to $4,000 for a repair and $8,000 for a replacement. The maximum amounts were also increased from last year, due to higher costs of labor and materials.
Emergency HEAP Benefits
Starting Jan. 3, HEAP will also provide a one-time emergency benefit to eligible households that are facing a heating emergency.
You may be eligible for an emergency HEAP benefit if:
- Your electricity is necessary for your heating system or thermostat to work and is either shut-off or scheduled to be shut off or
- Your electric or natural gas heat is off or scheduled to be shut-off or
- You are out of fuel, or you have less than one quarter tank of fuel oil, kerosene or propane or have less than a ten (10) day supply of wood, wood pellets, corn, or other deliverable heat source.
- Your income is at or below the current income guidelines as posted in the table below or you receive Family Assistance, Safety Net Assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) or Code A Supplemental Security Income.
- The heating and/or electric bill is in your name and
- Your household's available resources are:
- less than $2,000 if no member of your household is age 60 or older; or
- less than $3,000 if any member of your household is age 60 or older.
You can apply for a HEAP Emergency benefit:
When the HEAP Emergency benefit is open you may call your HEAP Local District Contact for assistance.
When the HEAP Emergency benefit is open you may apply in person at your HEAP Local District Contact.
You can apply for a Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement benefit:
You may call your HEAP Local District Contact to apply for Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement benefits. The in-person interview and application requirement is temporarily suspended. The district will provide more information on how to submit the application and required documentation.
Tips for Consumers
Tips for Consumers
The New York State Division of Consumer Protection is also offering tips for consumers to deal with the higher-than-average home heating prices that are expected this winter season. According to the New York Public Service Commission, electric and natural gas bills are expected to be higher for the 2022-2023 winter season than last year, with natural gas projected to increase by an average of about 29% statewide.
- Apply for HEAP. Apply for HEAP. Beginning November 1, applications will be accepted for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) which can provide up to $976 to eligible homeowners and renters depending on income, household size and how they heat their home. To qualify for heating assistance from HEAP, a family of four must have a maximum gross monthly income of $5,485, or an annual gross income of $65,829.
- Take immediate action to be more energy efficient. NYSERDA offers energy saving tips for residents and homeowners, as well as businesses that can lower energy usage. NYSERDA also offers a range of home energy efficiency programs that can help save energy and reduce costs over time. Income-eligible customers may qualify for reduced cost or free energy upgrades to their homes through EmPower New York and Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® programs. Homeowners should also check with their local gas and electric utility companies to access discounted products and services that can help them lower their energy costs all year long.
- Receive a customized list of energy-related assistance in the State. New York Energy Advisor can help income-eligible New Yorkers managers locate programs that help them spend less on energy and create healthier and more comfortable spaces. With the New York Energy Advisor, consumers answer simple questions and get connected with energy-saving offers in New York State. Sponsored by NYSERDA and utilities, qualified New Yorkers can get help paying utility bills, receive special offers on heating assistance, and more.
- Sign up for Community Solar. Community Solar allows New Yorkers, including renters, co-op and condo owners, and businesses to save money every month on their electric bills. Consumers can subscribe to a Community Solar project where available and start receiving credits on their electric bill for the clean energy produced by a solar farm. Find more information on how to sign up for a Community Solar project here.
- Get a free energy audit. Homeowners across New York are eligible for a free home energy assessment through NYSERDA's Residential Energy Audit Program. Home energy assessments are available both in-person and using remote technologies. Trained and qualified contractors who provide energy assessment services can help homeowners decide which energy improvements are worth investing in, install the improvements, and assist in connecting homeowners with NYSERDA's low-interest financing programs.
- Join a Clean Heating and Cooling Campaign. Participating in a campaign eases the process of replacing a community member's current heating or cooling system with clean heating or cooling technology by connecting members with pre-qualified contractors and outlining potential incentives, tax breaks, financing, and payment options. Experienced contractors can give a home or business owner a holistic assessment to determine if their home or business space will also benefit from weatherproofing upgrades that can further increase comfort and reduce energy bills. Visit NYSERDA to see if your community is participating in a Clean Heating and Cooling Campaign.
- Know your rights and protections. The New York State Home Energy Fair Practices Act has comprehensive protections for residential customers regarding their utility services. These rights include the option to pay bills in installments, a cap on late fees, sufficient notice prior to shut-off of services, and protections for those on a fixed income or with medical conditions. Learn about these from the Department of Public Service at AskPSC.
- Consider bill payment options. When getting in touch with your utility provider, inquire about billing options that allow for deferred payments or "budget billing" options that balance out bills that are higher in one season and lower in another. This can structure your payments and make it easier to navigate costs.
- Better understand the energy management of your building. Put Energy to Work provides a deeper understanding of tools and programs for businesses that help in energy management for commercial and industrial buildings and includes resources that can increase profitability, create a competitive advantage, and achieve greater resiliency.
Utility Bill Discount Program
Utility Bill Discount Program
Another available resource is New York’s Energy Affordability Policy (EAP) that requires the state's major electric and natural gas utilities to provide monthly bill discounts to income eligible customers. To address higher energy costs this winter, the New York Public Service Commission increased the budget for the EAP program by $129 million to $367 million, which means 95,000 more low-income families will be able to receive benefits, which vary by utility. The program expansion will result in more targeted bill discounts.
To enroll in the utility bill discount program, customers should contact their individual utility:
The New York Power Authority, through its Environmental Justice Community Energy Education programming, conducts weatherization workshops for low-income homeowners and renters. Workshop participants learn about simple ways to lower their heating and cooling costs, including low-cost changes they can make in their homes to help prepare for winter and summer energy needs. These interactive sessions are taught by NYPA’s expert staff, in partnership with community based organizations, including places of worship and neighborhood organizations.
After each workshop, NYPA distributes free weatherization kits that contain tools to implement many of the weatherization measures discussed during the workshop. Workshops and materials are translated into different languages to ensure weatherization messages are appropriately communicated to audience members that may speak different languages. NYPA’s Environmental Justice education programs are designed to provide energy literacy and awareness for historically disadvantaged communities. Eligible entities include organizations that serve residents who live within proximity of NYPA facilities.
Workshops are held near NYPA facilities in the North Country, Western New York, Central New York, the Capital Region, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island. Watch a video with a sampling of energy saving tips. Contact NYPA’s Environmental Justice Team at [email protected] to host an energy literacy program or to find out about upcoming workshops.