Applications for the federally funded Energy Credit assistance program, which helps low income residents who are not in crisis but require help to pay their heating and cooling bills, will be accepted beginning June 1.
Maui Economic Opportunity administers the once-a-year program in Maui County with applications accepted through 4:30 p.m. June 30. MEO usually receives between 1,100 and 1,500 applications during the month.
The program provides a credit toward utility accounts of income-eligible households. Credit amounts are based on income and number of people in the household, as well as the number of applicants, and is determined by the state.
Approved applications are sent to the state, which then distributes a credit line to applicants through Hawaiian Electric or Hawaii Gas. Some clients can make their credit last for longer than six months.
The Energy Credit is one of two programs in the Hawaii Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The other program, Energy Crisis Intervention, continues to operate, giving out 15 allotments a month. ECI assists households that have received a utility payment reminder for nonpayment or disconnection notice.
Funding of up to $650 for regular assistance and up to $1,000 for pandemic-related assistance is available through ECI. Utility payments take up to six weeks to process through the state, but utility companies are informed on the day of approval.
A household can only get assistance once a year from either ECI or Energy Credit programs. Applicants also must submit their most recent electric bill, IDs for all adult members and Social Security numbers for all household members older than 1 year old and proof of citizenship, gross annual income and residence.
The application for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program is available online here https://www.meoinc.org/programs-services/community-services/liheap/ or may be picked up at the MEO office at 99 Mahalani St. in Wailuku (Call ahead at 249-2970 because the office is closed to the public).