VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Oct. 7, 2022 – Now is the time to start preparing for cooler weather which can result in higher heating costs as the thermostats go up and natural gas usage increases to keep homes warm and comfortable. The approaching heating season can cause difficulties for some households due to increased demand for more energy to stay warm and the associated higher energy bills.
Virginia Natural Gas (VNG) wants to help customers better prepare for this year’s heating season by reminding those who may be income-eligible that there are available financial assistance programs that could help offset their winter heating costs.
Customers may be eligible to receive state and federal assistance to help pay energy bills through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). General enrollment for LIHEAP begins Tuesday, Oct. 11, and continues through Friday, Nov. 11.
The federal- and state-funded energy assistance program helps income-eligible families, including senior citizens and persons with disabilities, meet their energy needs during the winter heating season. All benefits are based on the availability of funds and are available on a first-come, first-served basis for those meeting certain eligibility requirements. For example, the monthly gross income of eligible households may not exceed $3,469 for a family of four.
In Virginia, LIHEAP is administered by the Virginia Department of Social Services. Applications can be submitted online at commonhelp.virginia.gov/access, by calling the Enterprise Customer Service Center at 855.635.4370, and the local department of social services office.
For more information or to locate a local department of social services, call 211 Virginia (dial 2-1-1) or 804.726.7000.
Other energy assistance programs and resources available to Virginia Natural Gas customers include:
- EnergyShare is a supplemental program that provides a one-time annual grant to qualified residential customers. The program is administered by the Salvation Army and funded through direct contributions from Virginia Natural Gas employees and customers who make donations via their monthly natural gas bill payment. To apply for a grant, customers can contact their local Salvation Army to schedule an appointment, or call the EnergyShare hotline at 757.965.9012, ext. 1, for more information.
- Payment Arrangements are available to eligible customers with past-due balances to give them more time to pay their outstanding balance, bring their account current and help them avoid a service disconnection. VNG offers flexible payment arrangements with no down payment required. Customers can check their eligibility for a payment arrangement via virginianaturalgas.com/myaccount or by calling 866.229.3578.
- The Budget Plan helps customers manage their bills and avoid unpredictable bills from month to month, which makes household budgeting a little easier. Through this plan, we determine a customer’s annual bill amount by calculating their natural gas bill charges from the last 12 months and estimated gas prices for the next 12 months. Then, we divide their annual bill amount by 12 months to determine their monthly Budget Plan amount. About every three months, we’ll review their account and may adjust their monthly budgeted amount so that their payments are in line with their actual usage and the price of gas. To enroll, customers can visit virginianaturalgas.com/residential/billing-and-payment-options or call 866.229.3578.
- The Energy Efficiency Program helps customers manage their costs by lowering out-of-pocket expenses for energy efficiency improvements through rebates, free online home energy assessments and energy-saving products. For energy-saving tips visit virginianaturalgas.com/energyefficiency.
- Customers who want to help customers in need can consider making a Gift Payment any time of the year toward someone’s Virginia Natural Gas bill. Download the gift payment form, fill it in and mail it to us at the address you'll find on the form, or call us at 866.229.3578.
Every family deserves reliable energy at a price they can afford. For more information about these programs or how to help manage energy costs, please visit virginianaturalgas.com/energyassistance.