The Ohio Department of Development and Bridges Community Action Partnership want to ensure Ohioans stay warm and comfortable this winter by helping alleviate the burden of costly energy bills.

From now through March 31, 2024, income-eligible Ohioans can receive one-time assistance with their home energy bill through the Department of Development’s Home Energy Assistance Winter Crisis Program.

The Winter Crisis Program assists Ohioans facing service disconnection, have been disconnected, need to establish new service, need to pay to transfer service, have a Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) default, need to make their first PIPP payment, or have 25% or less supply of bulk fuel in their tank to maintain service. Qualifying households must have a gross annual income of at or below 175% of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that is up to $52,500.

Last year, the Winter Crisis Program assisted more than 67,000 households in Ohio, providing a total of $19 million in benefits.

“A warm and comfortable home should not be a luxury only some people can afford,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Department of Development. “This program does more than just provide financial assistance; it shows some of our most-vulnerable residents that we’re here to lend a helping hand when they need it most.”

Households serviced by a Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO)-regulated utility must sign up for PIPP or another payment plan if there is still an outstanding balance on the utility bill after receiving assistance.

Ohioans can start their application online but will need to schedule an appointment with their local energy assistance provider to complete the application. Depending on the agency, the appointment may be in person, on the phone, or virtual. The application and list of providers can be found online at Ohioans can also call 800-282-0880 to find their local provider. Hearing impaired customers may dial 711 for assistance.

“As the executive director of the Bridges Community Action Partnership, I want to emphasize that the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) remains a cornerstone of our organization,” said Executive Director Andrew Binegar. “We continue to see customers facing financial limitations that make it difficult for them to maintain their utility services. Our primary goal with HEAP is to provide relief and address the payment challenges experienced by low-income customers due to affordability issues, ultimately striving to create a positive financial impact.”

Clients need to bring copies of the following documents to their appointment:

• Copies of their most-recent energy bills.

• A list of all household members and proof of income for the last 30 days or 12 months for each member. · Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency for all household members.

• Proof of disability, if applicable.

HEAP benefits are applied to an individual’s energy bill after Jan. 1. If you need immediate assistance with your energy bills, please contact your local energy assistance provider. A list of providers can be found at

Applications for the HEAP Winter Crisis program must be received by March 31, 2024. The last day to apply for the regular HEAP benefit is May 31, 2024. For more information on the programs, visit or call your local energy assistance provider.

Submitted by the Ohio Department of Development.