Programs offer gas bill payment relief, heating assistance

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

As cold weather kicks in and home heating bills rise, a number of programs are available for low-income households, and for families and businesses in general that want to lower their energy costs through weatherization and energy efficiency measures.

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

• The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, which the New Mexico Human Services Department administers to provide direct assistance in paying heating bills for income-qualifying New Mexico residents.

• Heat New Mexico – managed by the NM Gas Co. and administered by the Salvation Army – provides payment assistance on gas bills for income-qualifying families. The fund is supported by donations that the gas company matches with $1.50 for every $1 donation received, plus federal COVID-19 relief funds. Since January 2021, the fund has dispersed $911,000 in direct assistance to customers.

• New Mexico Moratorium program, which blocks gas service disconnection for nonpayment on bills between Nov. 15 and March 15 for low-income customers who qualify for LIHEAP assistance.

• The Homeowner Assistance Fund provides grants to income-eligible households experiencing financial hardship from COVID-19 to avoid mortgage defaults, foreclosures, and loss of utilities.

• HELP New Mexico manages an emergency fund for community members directly impacted by COVID-19, providing assistance for rent or mortgage payments, food, utilities and medical needs.

Residential and commercial NM Gas customers who want to lower their utility bills through weatherization and energy efficiency measures can receive significant rebates for installing qualified devices, 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 faucets is also available.

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

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