Get Help Paying Your Utility Bills
Here in Alaska, more than most places, we know the importance of keeping the heat and electricity on during the cold of winter. But with Alaskans still being impacted by the lengthy COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant economic slowdown, many of us are having trouble paying bills. For Alaskans who meet certain income qualifications (generally near or below the federal poverty guidelines), there are several resources available specifically to help you pay utility bills, both from State of Alaska and the federal government.
The Heating Assistance Program (HAP)
The Heating Assistance Program — commonly known as “HAP” — will make a one-time payment to your utility provider to help pay an existing account or help with a deposit required to establish service in a subsidized rental building in which heat is included in the rent but the tenant pays for their own electric or gas for cooking.
HAP requires a recipient household to be at or below 150% of the federal poverty income guidelines and who have at least $200 in out-of-pocket heating costs each year. But eligibility is not based only on income. The calculation to determine benefits also takes into consideration heat type, dwelling type, household size and income.
The program is now accepting applications and will continue accepting applications through August. You can find the application online, or by contacting your local Public Assistance office. Applications are also available through WIC offices, senior centers, and by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Department Of Health And Social Services
DHSS has several other programs to help Alaskans with utility bills, which you can access on its website here. You can scroll down the list of programs and click on links to read up on which may be appropriate for your needs. The programs cover a wide range of situations, including help for mothers with young children and food assistance.
- For help with paying utility bills, we suggest starting with the General Relief Assistance program and/or the Alaska Temporary Assistance Program.
- For Alaskans who are age 65 or older, the Senior Benefits program may provide monthly cash payments of up to $250.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
The federal government also has programs designed to help specifically with paying utility bills, phone bills, medical bills and other expenses. You can review those programs here.
Energy Tips And Other Resources
Beyond seeking immediate assistance for current bills, it is important to take steps to save energy to lower your utility bills in the future. We encourage you to read the very helpful "Energy Savers Tips for Alaska" which we produced in cooperation with the Alaska Energy Authority.