If you’ve fallen behind on your monthly utility bills or are having a hard time making payments, there are a variety of programs that can help you avoid that shutoff notice. Here’s what you can do:

Contact your utility company

Many utility companies offer assistance programs to help you stay on top of payments, so start by reaching out to your company and finding out what’s available. Some companies offer budget billing, which allows you to pay the same amount each month and avoid seasonal spikes. 

Apply to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program 

Consider applying to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which is a federal program that helps low-income families pay their energy bills. Start by contacting your local LIHEAP office to find out more about how to apply in your state. This program can help with paying heating or cooling bills, emergency services in case of an energy crisis, and low-cost home improvements to make your home more energy efficient and in turn, lower your utility bills. 

Apply for the Weatherization Assistance Program

Like LIHEAP, this Department of Energy program helps low-income families save money on utility bills by making their homes more efficient. Eligibility requirements differ by state, so contact your local office for more information. This type of program typically benefits homeowners more than renters, but renters can still qualify if a landlord signs a consent form. 

Contact a local charity

If you need immediate assistance with a utility bill, try reaching out to a local charity organization. You can call 2-1-1 to easily be connected with a social service agency that may be able to offer you emergency assistance.