Translator Disclaimers

Utility companies will resume shut off of service for nonpayment after

December 31, 2021. Don’t delay, apply for energy assistance today!

 

 

If you're having trouble affording your utility bills, there is good news! Due to the economic situation caused by the pandemic, New Jersey temporarily expanded its low-income energy assistance programs and its energy debt forgiveness program to middle class households (see new income limits below). Also, the USF-Fresh Start program offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to have electric and gas balances forgiven. Read below to learn what kind of benefit each program below provides and how to apply.

 

Click here to watch a replay of the Utility Assistance Summit for an in-depth overview of eligibility, income limits, and application process.

 

Income Limits

Program

PAGE*

USF

LIHEAP

Lifeline**

Household Size

 

 

 

 

1

$66,968

$51,520

$40,181

$28,769

2

$87,575

$69,680

$52,545

$35,270

3

$108,180

$87,840

$64,908

 

4

$128,786

$106,000

$77,272

 

5

$149,392

$124,160

$89,635

 

6

$169,998

$142,320

$101,999

 

7

$173,862

$160,480

$104,317

 

 

*If you are income eligible for USF, apply for USF first and then if still in need seek additional assistance from the PAGE program.

 

**Lifeline determines income in terms of married or single only and is for seniors and the disabled. The income limits will be raised by $10,000 on January 1, 2022.

 

Universal Service Fund

If you:

  • are income eligible for USF (see above income limits); and
  • have an electric or gas bill in your name; and
  • have an overdue balance of $60 or more on your gas or electric bill,

Apply for USF today so you can receive energy debt forgiveness through the USF-Fresh Start program! 

 

The Universal Service Fund (USF) provides monthly credits on income eligible electric and gas bills. The income limits for USF have been raised significantly due to the pandemic, so if you were denied in the past, reapply today!

 

USF-Fresh Start: Starting October 1, 2021 any USF enrollee with overdue balances of $60 or more will be automatically enrolled by their utility company into the Fresh Start program. Fresh Start provides forgiveness on the overdue balance amount that existed at the time of USF enrollment.

 

How do I receive Fresh Start forgiveness for my overdue balance? Each month a USF-Fresh Start customer pays only their current monthly charges in full, 1/12 of their Fresh Start overdue balance will be forgiven by the utility company. (Some utility companies forgive ¼ of the customer’s overdue balance once every three months). At the end of 12 months the entire overdue balance is forgiven. The utility company will send information to Fresh Start customers when they are enrolled explaining how the program works and updates regarding their status in the program. The customer should call their utility company with any Fresh Start questions but can reach out to the Board of Public Utilities at 800-624-0241 or www.nj.gov/bpu/assistance/complaints if they have any complaints their utility company cannot resolve.

 

How do I apply for USF and USF-Fresh Start?

 

You can apply for USF in any of the following ways:

 

  • Apply online at: gov/dca/dcaid and upload all required documents
  • Click hereto print the application. Complete, sign, and mail or email to your local application agency with all required documents (see application for list of required documents).
  • For further information go to: nj.gov.
  • Call the USF hotline at 800-510-3102 to:
    • Have an application mailed to you
    • Find your local application agency
    • Follow up on the status of your application
    • If you are disabled/homebound, request a home visit for assistance in completing your application (or email: USFHEA-application@dca.nj.gov).

 

Note: USF shares its application with the Home Energy Assistance Program so you can apply for both programs at the same time.

 

Note: You cannot apply for Fresh Start, but if you are eligible you will be enrolled by your utility company and receive information about Fresh Start in the mail.

 

USF is administered by the Department of Community Affairs. Fresh Start is administered by the utility companies with oversight by the Board of Public Utilities.

 

 

DCAid Screening Tool

The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has a variety of programs that can help you with rent and heating costs, prevention of eviction, reduction of utility bills, and removal of lead hazards from your home.

 

Use the anonymous "DCAid" screening tool to determine if you are eligible for assistance, and for more information on how to apply. 

 

Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) helps New Jersey households pay for heating costs and certain medically-necessary cooling expenses. Renters who have their heating costs included in their rent may also qualify. Applications for HEAP are accepted from October 1st through June 30th. Self-screen for eligibility at: www.nj.gov/dca/dcaid. To print applications, review eligibility requirements, or locate your local application agency, visit www.energyassistance.nj.gov or call 1-800-510-3102 to have an application mailed to you or to request a home visit if you are homebound. You can email completed USF/HEAP applications and supporting documentation to USFHEA-application@dca.nj.gov

HEAP is administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. 

PAGE Program

The Payment Assistance for Gas and Electric (PAGE) Program provides relief on gas and electric bills for low- to moderate-income New Jersey households (see income limits above). Eligible applicants must have an overdue balance of at least $100 and not have $15,000 or more in liquid assets. Those who are income eligible for USF should apply for USF first before seeking supplemental assistance from PAGE. To self-screen for program eligibility, apply online, or print an application, please visit www.njpoweron.org. If you have questions, or would like an application mailed to you, call (732) 982-8710.

PAGE is administered by the Affordable Housing Alliance.

Winter Termination Program

The Winter Termination Program protects specific categories of customers from having their gas or electric shut off between November 15 and March 15 of each year. Those enrolled in certain other programs (including Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, USF, HEAP and Lifeline) are protected by the Winter Termination Program. An additional “catch-all” category is also included for those who are unable to pay their utility bills because of circumstances beyond their control, such as unemployment or illness. For more information about the Winter Termination Program, call 1-800-624-0241.

The Winter Termination Program is administered by NJBPU. 

Utility Customer Bill of Rights
Be a smart consumer, know your rights. Read the Utility Customer Bill of Rights.

 

Lifeline Program (Energy Assistance)

    

Lifeline provides an annual energy benefit to qualified seniors and the disabled. The benefit can help eligible homeowners and renters with electric and/or natural gas costs. You can apply for Lifeline by using the NJSave application, available at www.aging.nj.gov. For more information about Lifeline, call 1-800-792-9745, or click here

Lifeline is administered by the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS).

 

NJ SHARES

NJ SHARES is a non-profit organization that provides assistance to income-eligible New Jersey households for paying their energy, telephone, broadband (internet), and water bills. Applications for NJ SHARES grants can be made at any of the more than 270 participating social service agencies throughout the state. For more information, call 1-866-657-4273 or visit www.njshares.org.

 

 

Emergency Broadband Benefit

The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

 

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

 

There are three ways for eligible households to apply:

  1. Contact your preferred participating broadband provider directly to learn about their application process.
  2. Go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org to check eligibility, apply online, and to find participating providers near you.
  3. Call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application, and return it along with copies of documents showing proof of eligibility to:

Emergency Broadband Support Center
P.O. Box 7081
London, KY 40742

Lifeline (Federal Telephone Assistance Program)

The federal Lifeline telephone assistance program provides a discount on your monthly telephone bill. Eligibility for the program is determined based on participation in any of the following programs: Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8), Federal Veterans Pension, or Federal Veterans Survivors Pension. You may also qualify based upon your income level (below 135% of the Federal Poverty Line). To participate in the program, you must submit proof of participation in the qualifying programs or income eligibility to the service provider, which must verify that documentation. The Lifeline program is limited to one discount per household, and the level of services provided under the program may vary among providers, with some restrictions on the optional services available to participants.

 

For more information, please contact your local telephone service provider for residential and broadband service:

Verizon New Jersey – 1-888-337-3339 (NJSHARES) or NJSHARES

CenturyLink/United Telephone Company of New Jersey – 1-800-201-4099 – www.centurylink.com/Pages/Support/LifeLine

Warwick Valley Telephone Company – 1-800-952-7642

 

For wireless service, please contact these providers:

Tracfone – 1-800-977-3768 - www.safelink.com

Virgin Mobile – 1-888-898-4888 - www.assurancewireless.com

 

NJ Energy Assistance Brochure and USF/LIHEAP Application

NJ Energy Assistance Brochure

NJ Energy Assistance Brochure (Spanish)

Universal Service Fund (USF)/ Home Energy Assistance Application

 

Comfort Partners

Comfort Partners is an energy saving and education program that directly installs energy savings measures FREE of charge for qualified income eligible customers. Call 1-800-915-8309 or visit www.njcleanenergy.com/CP (electric or gas heat only) to learn more.

Comfort Partners is sponsored by NJBPU’s New Jersey Clean Energy Program™.