July 5, 2013 — Vermont Gas launched its low-income rate assistance program at the start of the month, and it offers a 20 percent discount on monthly bills. Customers apply through the Vermont Department of Children and Families, the LIHEAP grantee, and eligible households can have incomes up to 185 percent of federal poverty guidelines.
Vermont Gas created the program following the Vermont Legislature's passage of Act 136 in 2012. It required the Vermont Public Service Board to make regulated natural gas utilities provide discounts to low-income customers. The Act required eligibility to be based on household income no greater than 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines or the criteria for Vermont LIHEAP's crisis fuel assistance. In August 2012, the Public Service Board began its investigation. It issued its order creating the discount in January 2013.
"We have been publicizing the Vermont Gas discount program to those we serve since we first learned of this avenue for savings," said Jan Demers, executive director of the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity. "With deep cuts in relief at the federal and state level, the 20 percent discount off every monthly bill...will be even more essential to keep hard-working low-income Vermonters warm this coming winter."
Sources: Media reports, Vermont Gas, Department of Children and Families