Moratorium on Utility Shut-offs and Late Fees

July 12, 2020
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Update: On June 29, 2020, Governor Hogan issued an amended Executive Order extending the prohibition on residential utility service terminations and late fees until September 1, 2020.

Keep the Lights On! 

On June 29, 2020, Governor Hogan issued an amended Executive Order extending the prohibition on residential utility service terminations and late fees until August 1, 2020.  This date is coming up fast so what does that mean for you?

It means that on August 1st, utility companies can charge you for the last four months of utility usage and late fees. If you had an outstanding bill before the moratorium was put in place, that amount would also be due. For more information about assistance, visit www.MontgomeryEnergyConnection.org.

Take these three steps to make sure your utility bills are not shut off:

STEP ONE: Contact your Utility Company

Most utilities are providing assistance on a case by case basis so contact them NOW to see what you can do about your bill. Many utilities have Budget Billing and Customer Affordability Programs which are tools that utility companies provide to help spread out annual energy and water bills into even monthly payments. This helps you avoid spikes in your energy bill caused by seasonal fluctuations and unusual utility usage. Contact them TODAY!

STEP TWO: See if you Qualify for Energy Assistance

If you have already contacted the utility and still need Energy Assistance, make sure you know how to apply. You can find more detailed information here at the Maryland Department of Human Services Office of Home Energy Programs.

Energy Assistance is a year round program. You can apply at any time during the year, but you can only receive benefits once each year and must reapply each fiscal year (July- June). If you received benefits between July 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020, you can reapply now for benefits that will be issued in July 2020.

If you are having trouble affording your utility or heating bill, you do not need a turn off notice to qualify for assistance. The Office of Home Energy Programs strongly encourages you to apply for assistance before you receive a turn-off notice so that funds can be applied to your account as soon as possible. All OHEP program eligibility is income-based and you do not need a turn off notice to qualify for assistance.

STEP THREE: Apply for utility assistance programs

The Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP) makes energy costs more affordable, prevents the loss of home energy service, and helps restore interrupted service.

There are various types of assistance programs available to customers:

If you need help paying heating bills: You may qualify for the Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP)

  • This program helps eligible families with the cost of heating.
  • Payments are made to the fuel supplier and utility company on the customer’s behalf.

If you are in danger of having your utility turned off:  You may qualify for the Utility Service Protection Program (USPP)

  • This program is available to ALL MEAP participants.
  • This program provides access to an even monthly payment program and protection from service disconnection.
  • Participation in this program also requires a year-round even monthly budget billing.

If you need help paying electricity bills: You may qualify for the Electric Universal Service Program (EUSP)

  • This program helps low-income electric customers pay their electric bills.
  • Eligible customers receive help that pays a portion of their current electric bills.
  • Customers who receive EUSP are placed on a budget billing plan with their electricity company.

If you need help paying overdue bills: You may qualify for the Arrearage Retirement Assistance

  • This program helps customers with large, past due electric and gas bills.
  • Eligible customers with a past due bill of $300 or greater may receive a grant amount up to $2000 once every seven years paid directly to their energy utility company.

Apply for all utility assistance programs HERE.

You can also request a Home Energy Program application:

  • By phone, 240-777-4450
  • Download it in English or Spanish
  • Pick up, mail or deliver completed applications to Office of Home Energy Programs, 1301 Piccard Drive, 4th Floor, Rockville, MD 20850


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