1. Learn about this resource. 

Residents can get emergency assistance to restore their electricity, gas, and/or oil after their service has been turned off. Older adults can get help when services are at risk of being turned off. We—DC Government—will provide up to $600 to PEPCO, Washington Gas, and/or DC Oil toward overdue bills.

 

This program is called the Emergency Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and is offered by the Department of Energy and Environment.

2. Check if you are eligible.

You are eligible if all of these statements are true:

  • Your home is in DC.

  • Your electricity or gas has been turned off or your oil tank is less than 5% full. If you’re 55 years old or older, you are eligible if your service is still on but will be turned off if you don’t pay your overdue balance.

  • Your name or the name of someone in your household is listed on your utility bills. If not, you must be able to show that someone in your household owns your home or is responsible for paying your utility bill.

  • And if one of these statements is true:

    • Your household receives support from at least one of the following programs: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or​

    • Your household’s annual gross income—your income before paying taxes—is at or below the limits based on your household size. You can check by answering the two questions below.

turn your utility service back on?

DO YOU WANT TO

3. Apply.


  1. Gather the following documents for you and each person in your household. At least one of your documents needs to list your full name and DC address to show that you live in DC. Depending on how you apply, you may need to make copies or scan your documents.
    • Photo IDs (like a driver’s license)
    • Social security cards or alien registration numbers
    • Most recent utility bill for the utility or utilities that are turned off
    • Recent pay stubs, social security statements, pension statements, unemployment benefits statements, child support statements, and/or tax return (you only need the documents that apply to your situation)
    • A letter from PEPCO and/or Washington Gas saying that your electricity or gas has been turned off. If you are 55 years old or older, you just need a letter saying that your electricity or gas will be turned off. If your oil tank is at less than 5% capacity, you just need to be able to tell us how much you have left.
  2. Choose one of these options to apply online or by mail:
    • Complete the online application. To start, you'll be asked to create a log-in. Select that you’re interested in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Utility Discount Program. You’ll need to upload photos or scans of your documents into the application.
    • To apply by mail, print and mail your completed paper application and copies of your documents to the address below. If you can't print the application, you can call 311 at any time to ask us to mail you an application. You’ll need to make copies of your documents. Please don’t send the originals.
Attn: Emergency LIHEAP The Department of Energy & Environment 1200 First Street NE, 5th Floor Washington, DC 20002 You can apply at any time.





4. Gather more information.

What happens after I apply?


  1. We—DC Government—will tell you if you have been approved by phone or email within two business days of applying. You can also call 311 to get an update on your application.
  2. We will pay up to $600 to PEPCO, Washington Gas, and/or DC Oil to cover your overdue bills. If more than one of your utilities is turned off, we’ll pay up to $600 to each utility to restore your service. If you are 55 years old or older and more than one of your utilities is at risk of being turned off, we’ll pay up to $600 to each utility to maintain your service.
  3. After you are approved for emergency assistance, you can call the utility company using the phone number on your bill to ask them to turn your service back on. The utility company can usually turn your service back on within one business day after you call. If $600 was not enough to cover your overdue payments, they may ask you to cover all or part of the difference before turning your service back on.
  4. If you aren’t already receiving non-emergency utility assistance from us, we’ll let you know in person or by email how much assistance you’re eligible for and sign you up for assistance on your future utility bills automatically. You’ll start seeing the credits and/or discounts on your bills within two billing cycles of when you applied (about two months after).
If you are not approved, we will let you know by phone or email within two days of when you applied. You can also call 311 to get an update on your application. You can appeal our decision within 90 days of hearing that your application is not approved. We just need your name, address, and the best way to contact you (phone or email). You can appeal online or by calling 311, or by writing to us at: The Office of Administrative Hearings 441 4th Street, N.W., Suite 450 North Washington, D.C. 20001




Are there any additional requirements I should know about?


If your utility bill does not list your name or the name of someone in your household, you must be able to show that someone in your household owns your home or is responsible for paying your utility bill.




Who should I contact if I have questions?


First, take a look at the frequently asked questions at the bottom of the page. If you still have questions, please reach out to us by calling 311 at any time. Or, you can email us at liheap.support@dc.gov with the subject line, “Emergency LIHEAP Question.”




I still need help with my utilities. What should I do?


You can find information about other resources that might help on our utilities resources page.




Frequently Asked Questions


Can I combine this program with other energy assistance and efficiency programs? Yes. When you apply for emergency assistance, we’ll automatically check your eligibility for assistance paying for your electricity, gas, oil, and water bills. If you’re approved for emergency assistance to turn your utility back on, you’ll start seeing the credits and/or discounts on your bills within two billing cycles of when you applied (about two months after). You can also say that you’re interested in getting help to reduce your home’s heat and electricity use and/or to replace a broken heating or cooling appliance. If you’re approved for emergency assistance to turn your utility back on, we will email you within two business days explaining how to apply for these programs. What determines how much emergency assistance I receive? The amount of assistance can be up to $600. The amount you receive depends on how much you owe on the utility that was turned off. If more than one of your utilities is turned off, we’ll pay up to $600 to each to restore your service. If you are 55 years old or older and more than one of your utilities is at risk of being turned off, we’ll pay up to $600 to each to maintain your service. Can I receive emergency assistance if I have received assistance from the program before? Yes, you can receive emergency assistance again as long as you meet the eligibility criteria, but you can only receive it only once per fiscal year, which starts in October and ends in September. For example, if you receive emergency assistance in November of this year, you won’t be able to receive it again until October of next year. Can I receive emergency assistance on two or more different utility bills? Yes. If more than one of your utilities is turned off, we’ll pay up to $600 to each to restore your service. If you are 55 years old or older and more than one of your utilities is at risk of being turned off, we’ll pay up to $600 to each to maintain your service. My utility bill is not in the name of anyone that lives in my home. Can I still apply? Yes, you can still apply. If your PEPCO, Washington Gas, or DC Oil bill does not list a household member’s name, you must include proof that someone in your household owns your home or a copy of the lease agreement that states that someone in your household is responsible for paying your home’s PEPCO, Washington Gas, or DC Oil bill. My household doesn’t have any income. How can I prove that? If your household doesn’t have any income, you can submit one of these documents with your application:

  • An notarized income statement,
  • A screenshot of your "Claimant Profile" page on the Department of Employment Services (DOES) website showing that your "Balance" is zero ( see example),
  • A recent letter from your former employer stating that you no longer work there (if you've lost your job but are not yet receiving unemployment benefits from DOES), OR
  • A recent letter from the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) stating that your household doesn't have any income




Do all eligible applicants get emergency assistance?


Yes.





This resource is provided by:

Keywords: overdue, late, utilities turned off, fees, bills, gas turned off, oil tank empty, senior, elderly

 

This page was last updated May 2021.

Department of Energy and Environment