Utilities Assistance as of May 2021Posted on: May 25, 2021
If you have been unable to pay your utilities during the Covid-19 crisis, you may be eligible for assistance to help cover your past-due bills.
If you are applying for the statewide Louisiana Emergency Rental Assistance Program, you can also apply for assistance to cover past-due utilities, including: electricity, gas, water and sewer, trash removal and fuel oil.
- If you are still in the process of applying for the Rental Assistance Program, you can add your utility requests directly to your application. Instructions are available here.
- If you have already submitted your application, you can request utilities assistance by submitting a "Utilities Assistance Ticket" using your online application portal. Instructions can be found here. This must be done by June 7, 2021.
Eligible renters can get help paying overdue utility bills as far back as April 2020. Assistance is available for current utility charges, past-due utility bills, and for reconnection and late fees. You can get assistance covering up to 15 months of bills in total.
|*If you are a resident of Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Orleans or St. Tammany Parish, you cannot apply for the statewide program and must apply directly to the program in your parish.
You may be eligible for the statewide rental assistance program if you meet all of the following:
- You reside in a rental unit in one of the 57 parishes covered by the state-administered program and meet certain income requirements for your area.
- At least one individual in your household qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to COVID-19.
- You have received a past-due rent notice, a past-due utility notice, or an eviction notice.
What if I am not applying for rental assistance or the parish I live in is not currently providing utilities assistance? Are there other programs I can get utilities assistance from?
Yes. You may be eligible for utilities payment assistance through the federally-funded program, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
In general, you may be eligible for the program if your household income is equal to or less than these amounts:
|Number of People in Your Household||Annual Household Income||Average Monthly Income|
You will also need to provide:
- Recent copies of your utility bills
- Copies of the last four consecutive check stubs for employed household members
- Proof of other benefits you receive, including: Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, and Pension Funds.
- Disconnect notice (if you received a shut-off notice from your energy company)
- Proof of present address (rent receipt, lease or deed, etc.)
- Driver’s license or picture ID of head of household and their Social Security card
- Proof of total members living in your household and their Social Security cards
- Additional information may be required
Assistance is not guaranteed. More information on the program, including where to apply, can be found here.
Additional assistance may also be available through this program for those who are experiencing difficulty paying their utility bills due to Covid-19. Eligible applicants will receive a $600 benefit for their heating and cooling bills.
To apply, contact your local community action agency. You can find a list of local agencies here. You will also need to provide the identification and income documents listed above and a copy of your heating and cooling bills for one month (not older than six months).
|If you live in New Orleans, you may be able to get a deferred payment plan from Entergy, which will allow you up to a year to pay your current bill and/or your unpaid balance.
You can request a payment plan by calling 1-800-368-3749 or by making the request online on your “myEntergy” account.
|If you live in Jefferson Parish, you may be able to get utilities assistance from the Jefferson Community Action Programs.
To apply, you must submit:
You can apply by scheduling an appointment at these locations:
Dorothy B. Watson Community Center
1300 S. Myrtle Street Metairie, LA 70003 Telephone: (504) 736-6480
Hazel Rhea Hurst Community Center
1121 S. Causeway Blvd. Jefferson, LA 70121 Telephone: (504) 838-4277
|If you live outside of Baton Rouge or New Orleans and are behind on your utility bills, your provider should be contacting you to establish a reasonable repayment plan. Please note, if your utilities provider is unable to get in contact with you, you will still be responsible for the past-due amount and your utilities may still be disconnected.
Your utilities provider cannot charge you late fees or interest for bills that were unpaid from March 20, 2020 through July 16, 2020. Your provider is also prohibited from making negative credit reports for these unpaid balances.
These measures, particularly about late fees, interest, and negative credit reporting, have not been established in Baton Rouge and New Orleans at this time.
Can my utilities be cut off if I haven’t been able to pay due to Covid?
Yes. If you are behind on your payments, your utilities may be disconnected. You should try to work out a payment plan with your utilities provider and get any payment plan in writing. Once you are able to, be sure to pay your utility bills on time to avoid a disruption in service.
For those living in New Orleans, the Sewerage & Water Board is moving towards resuming shut offs for non-payment. While a plan isn't in place yet, the Swerage & Water Board will be offering payment plans if you are far behind on your past due water bills.