A fairly new program started in May 2009 provides low to moderate income families help with paying utility and electric bills. The program is for American Electric Power customers in Ohio. The program is known as Neighbor to Neighbor program.
The program works by providing low to moderate income Ohio families with cash grants for paying utility bills. The Neighbor to Neighbor resource applies the grant money directly to the monthly utility bill of an eligible AEP Ohio customer. The program is funded by donations, and there is always a need for more funds. For example, any AEP customer across the state, or local businesses and their employees, can donate as much as they want to the Dollar Energy Fund to assist those in need. AEP will match the donations. So if you donate $5, the utility company will match that with another $5.
Many people are asking how they qualify for help the Neighbor to Neighbor program. Any AEP customer must be at or less than 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, meaning a family of four could earn up to $44,100 per year and would still be able to get help.
Recipients of the aid that is provided also must have made a sincere effort to pay their utility bill. This is defined as at least payments of $100 in the last 90 days. The reason for this is that the program is not meant to be charity aid. In addition, the customer must have a minimum balance of $100 on their utility bill. Exceptions to some of these rules are made for senior citizens.
The amount of help provided to date is extensive. During the program's first 13 months, more than $2 million in grants to help pay utility bills were provided to more than 9,000 low-to-middle income AEP Ohio customers across the state. In addition, over than 120 community-based organizations in 49 Ohio counties also joined the program and are distributing grants.
The bottom line is that this Neighbor to Neighbor program is providing much-needed help to Ohio families who need help paying their electric utility bills and the focus is on helping those who may not be eligible for other types of aid.
Call your local community action agency to apply.