COURTESY OF THE D.C. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT:
With the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1, many District residents will turn to the District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) for assistance with their home energy expenses. Last year, DOEE announced new policies that allow District residents to seek assistance without waiting in long lines. Beginning Oct. 1, residents will need an appointment at one of DOEE’s two Energy Centers to apply for energy assistance. Residents will also have the option to apply online for energy assistance starting Oct. 1.
DOEE’s appointment-based system will provide residents with efficient in-person and same-day service. In order to prioritize and serve the District’s most vulnerable residents, DOEE will limit October appointments to those residents who are experiencing an energy service disconnection. All income-eligible residents who are experiencing an energy service disconnection (or home heating oil depletion) may call 311 beginning Sept. 19 to make an appointment at one of DOEE’s two Energy Centers during the month of October. District residents who are not currently disconnected from energy service may begin calling 311 on Oct. 1 for appointments beginning Nov. 1.
In addition to implementing an appointment-based system last year, DOEE also rolled out a new online application portal. In order to expedite your application, please log on to http://doee.dc.gov/liheap.
With stagnant hourly pay for low-wage workers, a high rate of underemployment, and rising energy costs, many District residents are unable to pay their utility bills each month. According to national data, the average LIHEAP benefit is estimated to cover less than half of the average home heating costs during the winter, which results in many low-income families and seniors having fewer resources available to meet other basic needs.
As stated in DOEE’s State Plan, which is submitted annually to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, DOEE intends to serve as many eligible households as feasible while providing the highest benefits to those households with the greatest energy burdens. With these new policies, DOEE aims to provide efficient and same-day service for in-person clients and expanded access to clients who prefer the online option.