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COVID-19 Assistance

Office of Home Energy Programs

Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP) provides utility grants and shut-off prevention to eligible households.  Applications may be completed online.  Paper applications, and a document drop box is also available at 1301 Piccard Drive, 4th floor.  Document drop-off boxes are also located at each of the housing stabilization offices.  Phone appointments may be requested by calling 240-777-4450.

Download the application: English or Spanish

No Utility Terminations 

Keep the lights on! The Governor and Public Service Commission announced that during this time of uncertainty, there is one thing to be certain of: NO TERMINATION of services or late fees charged during the State of Emergency and that includes: electric, gas, sewage disposal, telegraph, telephone, water, or cable television  company, or internet provider, or any company providing a combination of such services.

For more information on specific utilities: www.psc.state.md.us/covid-19-utility-operational-changes/ 

File complaints online: www.psc.state.md.us/online-complaints/

Fact Sheets from the Office of People’s Counsel for specific utilities:

COVID-19 STATE OF EMERGENCY (Utility Bill Payment, Extensions, Payment Plans)
Emergency Assistance Resources–Individuals
What Customers Should Know– About Their Water Bill 
What Customers Should Know–Washington Gas 
What Customers Should Know–BGE 
What Customers Should Know–PEPCO 
What Customers Should Know–Potomac Edison 

Protections for Renters

If you’re having trouble paying your rent during the coronavirus pandemic, you should know that there are relief options and protections for many renters. Learn what protections and resources may be available to help.­­

No Evictions

Currently, there is a temporary eviction moratorium in place in Montgomery County and the State of Maryland. The moratorium prohibits landlords from physically removing renters from their homes for any reason. During the eviction moratorium, landlords are permitted to issue eviction notices pursuant to their lease agreements and to pursue collection actions. Evictions also may not happen without an eviction order, which cannot occur as long as Maryland courts are closed. Maryland courts are currently closed.

Montgomery County’s DHCA Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs recommends that tenants experiencing financial distress contact their landlord to discuss their situation and possible payment arrangements. Residents with questions or concerns also are invited to contact the County’s Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs directly by calling 311 or 240-777-0311 if dialing from outside of Montgomery County, submitting an online request, or emailing olta.intake@montgomerycountymd.gov. Residents are also encouraged to review Montgomery County’s Landlord-Tenant Handbook, which offers a description of the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in Montgomery County.

Unemployment Benefits

If you are laid off temporarily due to a business shutdown as a result of COVID-19, the Division of Unemployment Insurance recommends that you file a claim for unemployment insurance. After you file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits, the Division of Unemployment Insurance will determine whether you qualify to receive unemployment insurance benefits. You can apply for unemployment insurance benefits online or by phone between 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 410-949-0022 (within the Baltimore-metro area and out-of-state) or 800-827-4839 (from within Maryland).

Mortgage and Housing Assistance 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) , and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)  are working together to help homeowners and renters during the coronavirus pandemic. They have created  information on what to do now, and options for mortgage and rent payment relief.

Government Scams

Unfortunately, some scammers are pretending to be affiliated with the government–just to scam you out of money. Here are three ways you can help protect yourself and others from these scammers.

  • Know that the government will never call, text, or contact you on social media saying you owe money, or to offer help getting your Economic Impact Payment (EIP) faster. If you get a message from someone claiming to be from a government agency through social media, it’s a scam. Report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint . If you are eligible and haven’t yet gotten your Economic Impact Payment, visit irs.gov  and follow the guidance. Watch this CFPB video to learn more about your EIP. And read the FTC’s information  on spotting scams related to the EIP.
  • Visit government websites directly for trustworthy information. Don’t click on links in an email or text message. Scammers often send fake links to websites that look like they’re from the government. Instead of clicking on links in messages, open up a new window and search for the name of the government agency. And visit coronavirus.gov  for the most up-to-date information on the pandemic.
  • Say “NO” to anyone claiming to be from a government agency asking for cash, gift cards, wire transfer, cryptocurrency, or personal and financial information, whether they contact you by phone, texts email, or by showing up in person. Don’t share your Social Security, Medicare ID, driver’s license, bank account, or credit card numbers.

For the most up-to-date information on avoiding COVID-19 related scams, visit ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams . And, for further help in protecting yourself financially during this pandemic, visit consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus.

Additional County Resources 

For up to date information on what is happening around the County and state, check this website.

 

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Get Help Paying Your Utility Bill

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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Sign Up For Regular Monthly Payments

Budget Billing and Customer Affordability Programs 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.

If you need to make your bills more consistent, visit your utility company’s Budget Billing page for more complete details about the program specific to you:

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Lower Your Energy Use with Home Repairs

One way to lower your energy costs and make your home more comfortable is by participating in one of these programs that provide energy efficiency upgrades.

1. Montgomery County Energy Efficiency Program

    • This is an income-qualifying, FREE program for Pepco customers.
    • This program provides various energy efficiency upgrades including: attic insulation, water heater replacement, programmable thermostat, appliance upgrades and other measures.

2. Maryland Weatherization Assistance Program

    • This is an income-qualifying, FREE program for all Maryland residents.
    • This program ​provides repairs and upgrades to a home that can significantly lower your energy use throughout the year.
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Program Finder

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