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BALTIMORE, MD — For those Marylanders worried about paying their utility bills once the moratorium comes to an end next month, the Department of Human Services wants you to know they’re here to help. As of October 1, utility companies can start issuing termination notices for those customers in arrears, informing them that the earliest turn-offs will begin on November 15.
Affected customers will have 45 days from the date of a termination notice to seek a payment plan or energy assistance. Bill Freeman, Director of the Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP) at the Maryland Department of Human Services, is urging all potentially affected Marylanders to take proactive steps that could prevent any discontinuation of utility services.
“We are acutely aware of the financial impact that COVID-19 has had on many of our fellow citizens,” stresses Freeman. “And in these most trying of circumstances, we want to place solution-oriented possibilities at the forefront. We encourage affected Marylanders to take advantage of the available energy-assistance options and to do so in a timely manner. Don’t wait until the last possible minute for a helping hand that could be given now.”
Program eligibility is income-based — Marylanders do not need a turn-off notice to qualify for assistance. Those interested can learn more about the energy assistance options available in Maryland online. Residents should then contact their Local Home Energy Program Office, where dedicated specialists will guide them through the energy assistance application and answer questions.
Detailed contact information for each jurisdiction’s Local Home Energy Program Office can be found at Local Jurisdiction Contact information. To ensure the public’s safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, walk-in traffic to the local offices is strictly limited to visitors with scheduled appointments.
“Reaching out to your Local Home Energy Program Office is like making an immediate connection with a helpful, next-door neighbor,” Freeman enthuses. “Each of our local offices is quite literally on standby, ready to assist whoever comes through our virtual doors, so there’s no reason to hesitate.”