Programs offer relief in paying gas bills and heating support

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

When cold weather sets in and heating bills rise, a range of programs are available for low-income households, families and businesses in general looking to reduce their energy bills through weatherproofing and energy efficiency measures.

Families struggling to pay for heating can get help through the following programs:

• The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), administered by the New Mexico Human Services Department to provide direct assistance to eligible New Mexico residents to pay their heating bills.

• Heat New Mexico – administered by NM Gas Co. and managed by The Salvation Army – provides gas bill payment assistance to income-earning families. The fund is supported by donations, which the gas company matches with $1.50 for every $1 donation received plus the federal COVID-19 relief grant. As of January 2021, the fund has distributed $911,000 in direct support to clients.

• New Mexico’s moratorium program, which blocks interruptions in gas supply for non-payment on bills between November 15 and March 15 for low-income customers who qualify for LIHEAP assistance.

• The Homeowner Assistance Fund provides grants to eligible households struggling financially due to COVID-19 to avoid mortgage defaults, foreclosures and utility shortfalls.

• HELP New Mexico administers an emergency fund for community members directly affected by COVID-19, providing assistance with rent or mortgage payments, groceries, utilities, and medical needs.

NM Gas residential and commercial customers looking to lower their electric bills through weathering and energy efficiency measures can receive significant discounts for installing qualifying equipment, including energy-efficient water heaters and space heating systems, smart thermostats, and attic and ceiling insulation. A free water saving kit with low flow showerheads and aerators for kitchen sinks and bathroom fixtures is also available.

For more information on customer service programs, visit www.nmgco.com/assistance. For information on energy efficiency programs, go to www.nmgco.com/energy_efficiency.

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