Funds available to help with energy expenses
Low-income residents who need help paying electric or gas bills can apply for government help.
Up to 4,000 Hawaii households already get help with electric or gas bills through the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
"It is a really good program, it helps a lot of people ... and especially now with the utility bills so high," said Sue Quinn of Honolulu Community Action Program, which processes applications for the program.
People can apply for the assistance starting Monday through the end of the month.
There are two aspects to the program. One fund helps residents who have received a disconnection notice with up to $100. The other fund provides a $178 a year credit for a single person and more than $400 annually for families to the utility.
The program is especially beneficial for senior citizens or disabled people who are homebound, Quinn said.
"We do site visits so we can help senior citizens and disabled with their applications," said Quinn.
"We've never run out of money," said Quinn, encouraging potential applicants to apply. If you aren't sure whether you meet the low-income eligibility criteria, you can also call the Hawaii Community Action Program center in your area.
How to obtain assistance
For more information on the program, call the Hawaii Low Income-Energy Assistance Office at 586-5734.
Oahu residents can apply in person at Honolulu Community Action Program centers:
» Central Oahu District Center, 99-102 Kalaloa St., Aiea, HI 96701; call 488-6834.
» Leahi District Center, 1915 Palolo Ave., Honolulu 96816; call 732-7755.
» Leeward District Center, 85-555 Farrington Highway, Waianae, HI 96792; call 696-4261.
» Kalihi-Palama District Center, 1555 Haka Drive, No. 2408, Honolulu 96817; call 847-0804.
» Windward District Center, 47-232 Waihee Road, Kaneohe, HI 96744; call 239-5754.
Applicant must present:
» A current original bill from the electric company or gas company in the person's name.
» Proof of residence: Another document showing the applicant lives at the address listed on the current bill, like a phone bill or doctor's bill.
» Proof of income: 2007 tax forms; three months' of current pay stubs (six total); Social Security award letter; Supplemental Security Income letter; Welfare Department award letter; unemployment determination letter and/or scholarship award letter; Free Application for Federal Student Aid; whichever applies for the entire household.
» Proof of household assets: Entire household assets, including: savings and checking accounts, Christmas savings, credit union, stocks and bonds, cash on hand.
» Identification: A valid driver's license or state identification, or Social Security card.