Ideas To Get Emergency Cash To Keep You Utilites On

Especially For Ohio Residents

 Do you need emergency cash to pay your electric bill? As the weather gets colder more and more people will need emergency help to keep their utilities on. If you are out-of-pocket and are worried how to pay the electricity bills no need to feel embarrassed it because this situation is common for anyone who had an emergency expense and left with no money to pay the utilities. If you need emergency utility assistance there are many places that you can get help. One of the most important numbers that you need to remember is "211".  It is an emergency number for social services that is available in 39 states. If you need emergency utility assistance, call 211 from your phone and explain your situation.  Go to to see if this service is available in your state.

Even though some utility companies will grant extensions especially when there are elderly people and children living in the home, at some point, they want to get paid.  Some people take advantage of these utility company's offer to extend services during the cold months and not pay anything, then in the warmer months they are left with a huge bill that they cannot afford to pay-at that point, your utilities can be shut off. Once it's off, you can only get it back on if you pay your past due balance. Don't let this happen.

There are many ways to get an emergency cash to pay your electricity bills.  Federal and state government provides welfare assistances which includes paying your utilities as well. The Federal welfare assistance is common for US residents and the state government welfare programs vary according to the state where you live.  The Utility service providers also suggest and provide assistance in finding a way to settle your electricity bills, so use it before it gets out of control. Listed here are few suggestions which would definitely help especially if you are an Ohioan:

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) regulates and provides assistance for paying all kinds of utilities bills which includes electricity bills.  PUCO was initiated to guarantee adequate, safe, and reliable utilities at a fair price for Ohioans.

HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program)

HEAP is a funded by Federal Government and administrated by Ohio Department of Development (ODOD). HEAP focuses on the low income families to meet the expenses of high costs of home heating systems. You will receive a one-time payment based on the usage of the current heating season.  To be eligible you must be a customer of PUCO regulated Utilities services. The eligibility criteria depend on the members in your family and the total income of the family. For a family of two persons, the yearly gross household incomes must be up to $22,453 and the three month income should not cross $5,613. You can contact HEAP by the toll free number or write to them to apply for HEAP. You must mail only one HEAP application. The HEAP application is also available in county-based community Action Agencies, post offices or libraries.

PIPP (Percentage of Income Payment Plan)

This program allows eligible customers to make affordable energy payments. PIPP consists of different programs such as Standard PIPP program; PIPP Balanced payment plan; three percent PIPP and the Arrearage Crediting Program. Standard PIPP program allows low energy payments for eligible customers. There is an important rule for PIPP customers as they are not allowed to choose their own supplier. Those who qualify for PIPP, they would be paying 10% of their gross household income to the primary heating service provider and five percent of their secondary heating service provider. To sign up for PIPP, you need to contact your electricity service provider who will refer you to the local Community action agency. You will be asked to provide your last three months income proof. Three percent PIPP is for the household who is below 50% of Federal poverty line. The eligible customers would be paying only three percent of their utilities bills instead of 5%. Arrearage Crediting Program will continue to provide low energy payments once you are no longer eligible for PIPP.

E-HEAP – Emergency Energy Assistance Program or Winter Crisis Program (WCP)

This WCP is one of the special component programs of HEAP. This Electricity bill payment program is administrated by CAA. Winter Crisis Program provides one-time assistance per heating season. WCP provides emergency assistance to settle their bills for eligible low income household that are disconnected, received threatened letter of disconnection from the provider or have only limited supply of bulk fuel say less than 10 days. To avail this assistance, you need to contact your local CAA.

Extended Payment Plans

You have to switch to PUCO regulated gas and electric companies to be eligible for this plan. PUCO regulated gas and electric companies have different extended payment plan and allow you to pay your bills in an affordable way. Some of them are The one third plan; The one-sixth plan; Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP); Budget payment plan.  The one third plan and one-sixth budget payment plans are applicable for all customers regardless of their income status. As discussed earlier in this article, to be eligible for PIPP there are some criteria including the household members and income. You can contact your utilities provider to discuss on your economic situation to provide emergency assistance. The utilities companies offer different emergency assistance plans for you.


Budget Billing for Natural Gas and Electric Service

This is a State initiated program to spread-out the consumption bill payment through- out the year so that it can be managed easily. During winter time, the consumption goes up and there will be a high electricity bills due to the heating system. On the other hand, you must be spending for cooling systems during summer. Budget billing helps to manage this sudden steep and lean on your electricity bills against your standard income. The utilities company calculates the expected energy consumption bills based on your past usage history. You will pay this foreseen bill amount from August through July. Later on this amount will be adjusted based on your actual consumption. You may receive a credit if the consumption is low than the calculated consumption. Different companies have different budget billing period. Please contact your utility company to discuss on the budget billing plan.

Energy Assistance for Military personnel and their families

The Patriot Plan is dedicated for providing assistance and protection for military personnel families when serving on active duty. The Electric Utilities cannot disconnect their service for non- payment for qualifying military personnel families when the military person or Guardsman are on their active duty. After they return from their duty, they will have a length of deployment period to pay the accumulated arrearages. They will not be imposed with any late payment fees during the deployment period or repayment period.

PUCO gives more information and eligibility criteria to avail this assistance. Please note the Patriot plan does not apply for military personnel who are on their active duty of regular tour.


This is a federal program that helps those who are at leat 150 percent below the poverty level keep their electricity and utilities on. 


Other Ways To Get Emergency Money To Keep Your Utilties On

Payday Loan

 Payday loans can be a good short term solution to your late utility bill payments.  You can take out what is called a $10 payday loan or a fixed interest payday loan where you only pay back $10 interest for every $100 you take out. 

  • Learn more about $10 payday loan options: PRESS HERE


Emergency Cash Loan

 Emergency cash loans provide you access to more money than payday loans and the pay back terms are longer. There are emergency cash loans that you can get whether you have good credit or very poor credit.

  •  Learn more about emergency cash loans: PRESS HERE


Pawn Something

You can pawn practically anything at a local pawn shop. If you need emergency cash to pay your utility bill and have exhausted all extensions, try pawning items in your home like jewelry, silverware and other personal items to raise the instant cash.


Friends and Family

Asking friends and family could be your first option or your last option depending on your relationship.  However, it always remains as a valid way to get emergency cash without having to deal with financial institutions.