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Struggling to pay your utility bills? These resources can help

If you can’t pay your utility bills, there are several financial assistance programs, if you qualify, that can help. The resources below summarize available utility assistance programs. Additionally, you can check out our energy and water saving fact sheet for low and no cost tips on how you can save energy, water, and money at home. The fact sheet also lists the programs we mention here and provides other financial assistance resources.

Florida Power and Light

If you are struggling to keep up with utility bills, first you can contact your utility company to find out about any programs they offer. Many utilities offer financial help through community or federally funded emergency payment assistance programs. Most energy providers also have budget billing which gives you more predictable electric bills by spreading out your energy costs equally over the year, so you pay about the same every month. If you don’t live locally, check with your utility provider to see if they offer similar programs.

Florida Power and Light customers can access several assistance programs to get help with paying electric bills. If you are behind on paying your FPL utility bills, or if you are facing a shut off, look into the options below.

Florida Power and Light Care to Share Program

This is funded by donations from their residential and commercial customers. The program was created to provide emergency financial assistance grants and funds to struggling customers who are faced with an unexpected crisis. Each household may receive up to $500 for FPL bills over a 12-month period.

To apply for this program, call Florida Power and Light’s Customer Service at 1-800-226-3545, call your local Salvation Army, or dial other local non-profits or referral services. Many government social service offices also have information on the Care to Share program.

Florida Power and Light Assist

Offers payment assistance to eligible residential customers through social-service organizations located throughout their service area. FPL will help refer you to an agency that will be able to determine whether you’re eligible for federal financial assistance and provide the funding. For more information, call Florida Power and Light’s Customer Service at 1-800-226-3545.

Florida Power and Light Budget Billing

FPL Budget Billing gives you more predictable electric bills by evening out your energy costs over the year, so you pay about the same amount each month. Benefits of the program include:

  • Reduce bill fluctuations during months of hot or cold weather
  • Easier to manage monthly expenses
  • It’s free – you pay only for the actual electricity you use

View estimate and enroll here. For more information, call Florida Power and Light’s Customer Service at 1-800-226-3545.

Federal Energy Assistance Programs
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps low-income households with past-due energy bills. Applications are accepted at your local community action agency, and those agencies also provide funds to qualified applicants. In Sarasota, Salvation Army makes payments directly to FPL. Households can apply up to 3 times per year and must have a minimum gross income that is at or below the federal poverty level of 150%. To apply or get more information, call Salvation Army’s Electric Assistance Line at 941-556-0234.

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

The Weatherization Assistance Program provides free low-income qualified energy improvements for up to $5,000. Based on pre-inspection and diagnostic testing, homes may be eligible for a variety of energy-saving measures such as: caulking, weather stripping, solar window film, water heaters, etc. Rentals can be approved with the owner’s permission and the typical waitlist is about 2-3 years. The local office is through Step Up Suncoast. To get more information, call 941-827-2887 ext.7806.

Local Energy Assistance Programs
Office of Housing and Community Development Rehabilitation Program

The rehabilitation program is an ideal way to improve the energy efficiency of your home for long-term energy savings. OHCD provides Sarasota County residents with 0% interest loans with no monthly payments. Instead, the homeowner repays the loan when the home is sold, transferred, no longer occupied by the borrower, or 30 years, whichever comes first.

OHCD can work with Sarasota residents and their selected contractors to ensure that rehabilitated homes include ENERGY STAR® windows and vent and ceiling fans, use recycled and efficient insulation, and that all toilets, showerheads and bathroom faucets will minimize water usage. All of these retrofits can lead to significantly reduced energy and natural resource use within homes. The maximum value of a home that can receive assistance is $272,195.

To apply or get more information, call 941-951-3640 or email HomeRehabAssistance@sarasotafl.gov.

Sarasota County Energy Upgrade Program

Free in-home installations and evaluations are available to Sarasota County households earning less than $42,000/yr. During our visit, one of our Energy Coach volunteers will help you install energy and water efficiency devices, review your utility bill and teach you about additional low and no cost ways to save energy and water.

To apply or get more information call 941-861-9874 or email agarrett@scgov.net.

Energy and Water Saving Information

Check out our energy and water saving fact sheet for low-and no- cost tips on how you can save energy, water, and money at home. It also has information on available utility bill payment and other financial assistance programs.

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