Maryland’s energy assistance program, known as the Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP), is designed to help low-income households’ utility bills be more affordable. A turn-off notice isn’t necessary to apply for OHEP energy assistance; it’s an income-based benefit. That’s key as utilities have been mailing hundreds of thousands of turn-off notices since October 2020 based on a record number of accounts behind on payment. Because of the pandemic’s financial fallout, utilities did extend the pay-off time to avoid termination from 14 to 45 days to pay off a past-due bill. And, utilities are now offering their customers 12- or 24-month payment plans.
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