Hotline help now available 24-7
The state moratorium on utility cutoffs is set to expire on November 15, County Executive Steuart Pittman today announced an energy bill relief program today, October 30, that will allow qualified families and individuals affected by COVID to apply for special assistance through Anne Arundel’s Community Action Agency (CAA).
CAA’s Energy Assistance Department provides assistance to qualified Anne Arundel County residents to help lower their cost of heat and electricity during the winter months and ensure that families are able to keep their electricity for lighting, meal preparation, and personal safety.
“As colder weather begins and utility bills come due, we can’t allow the impacts of this pandemic to put people at risk of utility shut-off,” Pittman said. “I encourage any one who is behind on energy bills to apply for this funding or else reach out to your energy provider to negotiate an affordable payment plan.”
The program is targeted to customers who do not qualify for the Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) and other electric and utility programs.
The assistance from CAA is funded through a $550,000 CARES grant. Qualifying energy assistance includes past due bills incurred after March 1, 2020 from Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) and heating oil and fuel vendors.
This program supports BGE’s flexible payment program and other options announced earlier by the utility to help customers manage billing challenges and remain in service.
“The health and wellness of the community is our highest priority at this time,” said Dr. Charlestine R. Fairley, Chief Executive Officer for the Community Action Agency of Anne Arundel County. “Working in cooperation with BGE and local fuel and energy vendors, we will help you keep your power on.”
In addition to assistance from the CAA, the County has partnered with BGE to offer assistance to families and individuals struggling with past-due balances through a Deferred Payment Arrangement Plan. This plan allows customers to pay the balance off over time in installments with no required down payment.
“BGE does not want to disconnect any customers,” said David Wright,” BGE External Affairs Manager. “For those customers who have the ability to enter into a payment plan, it’s important to take immediate action and contact us at 1-800-685-0123 or visit BGE.com/assistance now before they are in crisis.”
Community Action has launched an emergency hotline to assist Anne Arundel County residents who have experienced a power shut-off, are low on or out of bulk heating fuel, or are facing an imminent shut-off.
The new hotline is manned 24 hours per day, 7 days a week by agency staff ready to serve households in emergency circumstances with their heating.
The number to call is 833.888.0401. TTY users should call via Maryland Relay 7-1-1.
--compiled from Anne Arundel County press release