Susan McLaughlin, president and CEO of Atlanta Gas Light Company, states: “Due to challenging economic times, we know there are individuals in Georgia who may need assistance with their gas bills this heating season. Often people simply don’t know where to go for help, so it’s important to point them in the right direction.”
Georgia Public Service Commissioner Robert Baker adds: “Nearly $30 million has been committed to energy assistance for low income households to help ensure that all Georgians can stay warm this winter.”
A $14.7 million federal grant has been set aside this year to help low income families pay their gas bills.
To qualify for this federal assistance, household income cannot exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty level.
Maximum income to qualify for assistance ranges from $12,885 for a one-person household to $44,995 for a family of eight or more.
Aid is granted on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Georgia Department of Human Resources administers assistance statewide through it’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Georgia DHR offers one-time energy assistance ranging from $158 to $200 with an average one-time benefit of approximately $179.
Customers qualified to receive funding through LIHEAP will not be required to pay the $25 reconnection fee for having natural gas service restored.
In addition, Atlanta Gas Light Company has offered to waive half of the seasonal reconnection charge – a portion of the AGLC base charges for the months a customer was disconnected.
The other half of the seasonal reconnection charge will be deferred through the winter and prorated over a three-month period beginning in April.
Parent company AGL Resources will provide funds to Atlanta Gas Light Company to cover the reconnection fee and waived charge for qualified customers.
For more information, contact LIHEAP at 404-657-3426 in metro Atlanta and 1-800-257-4273 outside Atlanta or visit www.state.ga.us/departments/dhr/energy.html.
In addition, there are several agencies that provide energy assistance that are funded through private donations. Atlanta Gas Light Company suggests that natural gas customers who think they may be eligible for assistance contact the following community resources.
—Heating Energy Assistance Team, H.E.A.T., Inc., was established in 1983 by Atlanta Gas Light Company and is funded by corporate and private donations. H.E.A.T provides energy assistance to individuals who qualify for state assistance. For more information, call 678-406-0212. Funds for the 2002 heating season became available Jan. 7.
—Project Share, a privately-funded program of The Salvation Army, provides year-round emergency assistance to Georgians who need help with basic necessities- housing, food, medical care and utility services. The program assists the elderly, individuals who are disabled, unemployed, sick and others who are experiencing financial hardship. For more information, contact Project SHARE at 404-873-3101 in metro Atlanta and 1-800-257-4273 outside Atlanta or www.salvationarmy-georgia.org
Since October 2001, the Georgia Public Service Commission voted to increase low-income senior citizens assistance by over $10 million in addition to previous funding of $10.5 million over the past two years.
This program provides a $50 monthly credit through March 2002 for low-income seniors who currently participate in a program offering a monthly gas bill discount to eligible seniors.
Over 31,000 seniors currently receive this $9.05 monthly discount on their gas bill provided by the Georgia Public Service Commission.
To qualify for the discount, applicants must be 65 or older and have a total annual combined household income not exceeding $12,000.
For more information on the senior citizen discount program, customers should contact their natural gas marketer.
Harriette Watkins, vice president of community affairs for AGL Resources, parent company of Atlanta Gas Light Company, said, “In recent months Americans have shown tremendous generosity in helping those in need during times of crisis. We believe this humanitarian spirit will extend to our neighbors seeking help with their heating bills.”
Atlanta Gas Light Company is the largest natural gas distributor in the Southeast and provides delivery service to more than 1.5 million customers in Georgia. It also is the primary subsidiary of AGL Resources, a regional energy holding company with operations throughout the Southeast, including Chattanooga, Tennessee and Virginia.