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Application deadline nears for energy credit help

The Maui News

The deadline to apply for federally funded energy credit assistance for low-income residents who are not in crisis but require help to pay their heating and cooling bills is 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Maui Economic Opportunity announced.

MEO administers the popular once-a-year Hawaii Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP, in Maui County.

LIHEAP provides a credit on utility accounts of income-eligible households. Credit amounts are based on income and number of people in the household, as well as the number of applicants, with the amount determined by the state, according to a MEO news release.

Approved applications are sent to the state, which then distributes a credit line to applicants through Hawaiian Electric or Hawaii Gas. Some clients can make their credit last for longer than six months, MEO said.

The energy credit is one of two LIHEAP programs. The other program, Energy Crisis Intervention, continues to operate, generally giving out 15 allotments a month — though for June all households that have received a disconnection or past-due notice can receive assistance.

Utility payments take up to six weeks to process through the state, but utility companies are informed on the day of approval.

A household can only get assistance once a year from either program. Applicants must submit their most recent electric bill, identification for all adult household members, Social Security numbers for all household members older than 1 year old and proof of citizenship, gross annual income and residence.

Applications for the program are available online at meoinc.org or may be picked up at the MEO office at 99 Mahalani St. in Wailuku. Applicants can drive in to designated stalls at MEO to file their applications in person.

Funding for LIHEAP is provided by the federal Office of Community Services, Division of Energy Assistance and managed by the State of Hawaii Office of Community Services.

For more information, call (808) 249-2970.

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