As below freezing temps are forecasted for the weekend and further into January, National Grid issued a press release today reminding its Rhode Island customers to take advantage of several energy programs that can help them pay and manage their energy bills.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), commonly referred to as Heating Assistance, provides eligible households with help in paying a portion of winter heating bills. Enrollment for LIHEAP is free and open through April 30, 2022 and covers energy usage from November 1, 2021 to April 30, 2022.   LIHEAP is open to both homeowners and renters including households whose cost of heat is included in rent, and eligibility is based on household size and the gross annual income of every household member 18 years of age or older. 

U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline recently announced that Rhode Island has received a total of $52.7 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) available this fiscal year. Customers can learn more about LIHEAP and the eligibility requirements by clicking here or by visiting a local Community Action Program (CAP) agency to apply for assistance.  

Along with LIHEAP, National Grid also encourages Rhode Islanders who are struggling to pay their utility bills to learn about the Good Neighbor Energy Fund (GNEF).  For more than 35 years, the GNEF has aided Rhode Island households who are unable to meet a current energy expense due to financial difficulty.  Through a cooperative effort between sponsoring energy companies, United Way of Rhode Island, the business community, and the people of Rhode Island, the Good Neighbor Energy Fund has assisted more than 47,000 families since its inception in 1986.  Rhode Islanders who need assistance from the Fund  — including as a result of the COVID-19 crisis – can also visit a local CAP agency to find out if they qualify.  If you are unsure of the CAP agency nearest you, please contact United Way 2-1-1 in Rhode Island or visit them online.

Another resource available to customers is Rhode Housing’s RentReliefRI program.  This federally-funded program serves as a lifeline for struggling Rhode Island renters and provides up to 18 months of rental and utility assistance for tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Dan McKee also announced this week the creation of the Homeowner Assistance Fund Rhode Island (HAF-RI), which helps homeowners impacted by COVID-19 to catch up on mortgage and utility bills and other housing-related costs and is available statewide. Individuals looking for more information or answers to frequently asked questions about the program should visit: www.HAF-RI.com.

National Grid also has several bill help options and payment plans writes that it also has available for theircustomers in need of assistance. Customers may enroll in programs such as the Budget Billing Plan, which spreads monthly payments out more evenly throughout the year to offset periods of high energy usage. Additional payment options are also available, and we encourage our customers to learn more by visiting www.ngrid.com/billhelp.

National Grid also provides a long list of energy efficiency tips that can help save on your monthly bill at ngrid.com/ee-tips.

Here are a few examples:

  • Revisit your thermostat settings to make sure they’re changing with the weather and your schedule.
  • ENERGY STAR® certified LED light bulbs can help you save every day at home because they use 90 percent less energy and last 13 times longer than traditional bulbs.
  • Lower your water heater setting to 120°F to save energy and prevent scalding.
  • Smart power strips can help you control the amount of energy your electronics use. If you don’t have one, unplug the electronics you aren’t using.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.