It’s never too early or late to start planning your winter heating budget. No matter how you heat your home, the cost of fuel can be expensive and unpredictable. The good news is, if you’re a senior, you may be eligible for certain discounted heating plans. For some programs, you need to apply online or through a local agency, while for others it’s as simple as placing a call. Here are some plans to check out that may help curb fluctuating monthly heating costs.
Demand Response Programs
For seniors, your utility company may offer incentives if you join their demand response program. It involves a free smart meter or thermostat so they can control the temperature in your home, especially on cold weather days, which can result in lower bills and prevent spikes.
The main idea behind this program is to reduce stress on the power grid in your residential area. When the thermostat is controlled by the power company, it prevents your HVAC system from running at a higher capacity. The result is an even amount of energy used throughout the year.
LIHEAP stands for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. It’s a federally-funded plan aimed at seniors and low-income individuals who require help with heating needs through winter. Help is available to:
- Pay utility bills, especially in the winter
- Assist with a utility shut off during cold months
- Help with home weatherization and low-cost improvements to help maximize energy usage year-round
If you’re a senior and falling behind on a gas or electric bill, contact your local LIHEAP office right away. Keep in mind this isn’t a discount, but it can help you get caught up and make it easier to make ongoing monthly payments. If you qualify, LIHEAP may be able to help stop a shutoff and keep the power on in your home.
Your Utility Company
If you’re looking to save money each month on your heating bill, start with your utility company. Most offer a small discount on rates for customers 55 and over and for those who are disabled. In addition, this may place you into a low-income category for repayment assistance.
Programs like the Winter Protection or Shut-Off Protection plan help lower monthly payments by creating a repayment option throughout the winter months. This utility assistance program also prevents services from getting disconnected if you stay up to date on payments.
Senior Oil Discount
Do you live in the country and heat your home with fuel oil? Many oil companies offer discounts to seniors and long-standing customers. All you have to do is ask. In addition, they may be able to break your bulk oil delivery into small monthly payments year-round so you don’t have to worry about coming up with a substantial amount of cash on delivery.
Switch to Solar and Get Rebates
Some solar companies are working closely with power companies to give residents, especially seniors, huge discounts. The Federal Residential Renewable Energy Credit offers large rebates to individuals who install solar panels in their homes. Using a combination of subsidies and rebates, it covers the cost of installation, ultimately making it free energy to use alone or help shave the price off of monthly utility costs.
Finding ways to save money on heating your home is multifaceted. Combining several methods and signing up for savings plans are the best ways to slash money on from your monthly budget. Reach out if you need help paying your bill, too. The goal is to live a comfortable, self-sustained life, especially during the winter months.
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