GAHANNA, Ohio, October 27, 2020 – The AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program is now accepting applications for utility assistance grants for the 2020-2021 winter heating season.
Through a partnership between AEP Ohio, an American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) company, and Dollar Energy Fund, the Neighbor to Neighbor Program supports families in need with a grant applied directly to their AEP Ohio account to prevent disconnection of, or to restore their electric service. Heating assistance is available once per program year on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligible account holders may apply through April 30, 2021, while funds are available.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has left many families and individuals in the communities we serve facing very difficult economic challenges due to job loss or unexpected expenses,” said Katie Grayem, director of Customer Experience for AEP Ohio. “Being a good community partner and neighbor, we are committed to providing those who may be struggling to make ends meet, a helping hand to ensure their electric service stays connected.”
Since AEP Ohio and Dollar Energy Fund launched the Neighbor to Neighbor Program in May 2009, more than $14.6 million in assistance has been granted to more than 61,000 customers.
To apply, customers may contact one of the AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program’s network of more than 120 Ohio community-based organizations. To qualify, an applicant’s total gross household income must be at or below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.
For example, a family of four earning up to $65,500 per year is income-eligible for the program. Households must have made payments to AEP Ohio totaling at least $75 in the three months prior to applying for a grant and owe a minimum of $50 on their AEP Ohio bill. Full eligibility guidelines and application instructions can be found at: https://aepohio.com/info/community/paymentAssistancePrograms/NeighborToNeighbor.aspx
COVID-19 Expanded Grants Available to Qualifying Customers
Due to the financial challenges individuals and families may be experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, AEP Ohio is expanding eligibility for its Neighbor to Neighbor Utility Assistance Program. Customers with a total gross household income of more than 250% but less than 300% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines are eligible for a one-time $120 grant. Qualifying AEP Ohio customers may apply through December 31, 2020, while funds are available.
Customers must provide proof of financial hardship related to COVID-19 and have a past due amount on their electric bill.
Medical professionals who meet the income threshold may show proof of occupation, rather than proof of coronavirus hardship, but must still have a past due amount on their electric bill to qualify.
Customers may only apply for assistance from either the AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Winter Heating or the AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor COVID-19 Expanded grants, but not both.
To limit face-to-face contact during this time, the COVID-19 expanded eligibility application is available online at: https://www.dollarenergy.org/need-help/ohio/neighbor-to-neighbor-program/
“Dollar Energy Fund is proud to maintain its support for AEP Ohio and its efforts to serve families who find themselves in a temporary financial crisis,” said Chad Quinn, chief executive officer of Dollar Energy Fund. “The AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program has become a very useful resource for thousands of households across Ohio, enabling them to maintain utility service when blindsided by an unexpected expense.”
The AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program is funded by public contributions that are matched dollar-for-dollar by AEP Ohio. Utility customers may make a contribution through their monthly AEP Ohio bill. Donations also can be made online at https://aepohio.com/info/community/paymentAssistancePrograms/NeighborToNeighbor.aspx or by sending a check directly to The AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program, Box 42329, Pittsburgh, PA 15203. Every donation to the Neighbor to Neighbor Program is used to assist eligible families residing in Ohio. Every dollar donated to the Neighbor to Neighbor Program will be matched by AEP Ohio. These matching funds and 100% of your donation will assist limited-income families residing in Ohio to afford utility service. With AEP Ohio’s generous match, your tax-deductible donation will have twice the impact.
For more information about Dollar Energy Fund and how to apply for the Hardship Program or donate to the organization, visit: http://www.dollarenergy.org