Maryland Energy Data Point – Electric Utility Bill Assistance
In 2020, nearly $20 million dollars from the Strategic Energy Investment Fund (SEIF) went to help 84,079 Maryland households in need pay their electricity bills. Energy bill assistance programs for low-income Marylanders are partially funded by the SEIF and run by the Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP) within the Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS).
Electric Universal Service program (EUSP) bill assistance provides ongoing electric bill support, paying part of a resident’s monthly electric bill. Bill support is based on electric usage, household size, and income. A monthly electric bill surcharge for all residents pays for the majority of EUSP and SEIF dollars are used to cover excess costs once initial funds are depleted.
The Electric Arrearage Retirement Assistance program pays off past due bills up to $2,000 and is available once every 7 years (exceptions for vulnerable populations). Payments are made directly to the electric utility on behalf of the resident. SEIF funds supplement this grant however the main funding comes from electric bill surcharges. The OHEP works to 1) prevent and resolve utility disconnections that may result in
life-threatening health and safety concerns, or result in households becoming homeless; and 2) keep electric bills at affordable levels so that customers do not end up in a utility crisis in the first place.
Information on applying for energy assistance can be found here.