Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)...
What is the VermontGas Low Income Assistance Program?
Beginning July 1, 2013, the Assistance Program provides a 20% discount to eligible low income natural gas customers. The discount applies to all three components of the natural gas bill: the daily access charge, the natural gas charge, and the distribution charge. The Assistance Program is funded by an Assistance Program Fee paid by all customers.
What is the Assistance Program Fee?
The Assistance Program Fee funds the Low Income Assistance Program. Beginning November 1, 2014 the Assistance Program Fee will be a monthly charge shown on customers’ gas bills. The Assistance Program Fees are as follows:
What is the rate impact from the Assistance Program Fee?
For the average residential customer, the Assistance Program Fee is equal to a 0.7% annual rate impact. Because the Assistance Program Fee is a fixed monthly charge, it will be a larger percentage of a customer’s bill during the non-heating months, and a smaller percentage during the winter heating season.
I’m on a budget payment plan, how will the Assistance Program Fee impact my budget?
Unless you are eligible for the Assistance Program, your budget will not change at this time. When your budget is reviewed at your budget anniversary date, the effect of the Assistance Program Fee will be included in your next budget adjustment. If you are eligible for the Assistance Program (as determined by the Department for Children and Families), the discount will be considered during your annual budget adjustment.
How often will the Assistance Program Fee change?
The Assistance Program Fee will be reviewed every year to ensure it is adequate to fund the Assistance Program. It will be adjusted, up or down, once a year.
Who is eligible for the Assistance Program?
The Assistance Program is available to residential natural gas customers with household incomes at or below 185% of the federal poverty level. Currently, (as of April, 2013) for a household of 3, this is equal to a monthly gross income of no more than $3,011. Add or subtract $620 per person for larger or smaller families.
How do I determine if I am eligible for the Assistance Program?
Eligibility will be determined by the Department for Children and Families Energy
Assistance Office. Please contact them at 1-800-775-0516 to obtain an application, or
visit www.energyhelp.vt.gov. The Department for Children and Families has indicated applications will be available after June 15, 2013. After reviewing your application, the Energy Assistance office will notify you whether or not you are eligible. If you are eligible, they will also notify Vermont Gas. The discount will be applied to your account with the next month’s bill after VGS receives notification. Please note Vermont Gas cannot determine eligibility
Does Vermont Gas offer other programs to help customers manage their energy bills?
Yes. Vermont Gas has energy efficiency programs that help customers use natural gas more efficiently. Visit www.vermontgas.com and click on “Efficiency Programs” to learn more or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Vermont Gas also offers budget payment plans that spread your natural gas bills evenly through the year. To find out more about the budget payment plan visit www.vermontgas.com and click on “Residential Services”, “Ways to Pay Your Bill” or contact customer service at 802-863-4511 ext. 250.
Why does Vermont Gas have a Low Income Assistance Program?
As a result of legislation passed by the Vermont legislature in 2012, Vermont Gas is required to offer a low income assistance program. The Vermont Gas Assistance Program has been reviewed and approved by the Vermont Public Service Board.
Can I choose not to participate in funding the Assistance Program?
No. The Assistance Program Fee is part of Vermont Gas’ Public Service Board approved tariff and must be paid by all customers.
Is the Assistance Program Fee tax deductible and considered a charitable contribution?
No, the Assistance Program Fees are part of a customer’s rates and therefore a fee for services and not tax deductible.