Heating and Utilities

The Eblen Energy Project has delivered hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil, natural gas, and assisted with electric bills to families in our community living with illnesses and disabilities. In partnership with Buncombe County Department of Social Services, Duke Progress Energy, Haywood Electric Membership Corporation, Biltmore Oil Company and cooperation with other oil distributors, and Dominion Gas Company, the Eblen Energy Project provides much needed assistance to families in need throughout the year. By providing heating oil and assistance with funding for gas and electric bills, we can help ensure that our neighbors are not left out in the cold during the winter months.

Emergency Assistance (EA) –  In partnership with Buncombe County Health and Human Services, Emergency Assistance offers temporary financial assistance for families in financial crisis due to unusual circumstances.  EA helps to pay past due power, gas, water, rent, mortgage, or oil.  Rent deposits for those who are currently homeless, or electric deposits for those living in a home without electricity.  Applicant must have a child in the home under age 18 and be the primary parent, guardian or caregiver. 

Energy Savers Network – Energy Savers Network is a volunteer-based organization that assists income qualified homeowners and renters in Buncombe County with FREE energy-efficiency upgrades to make homes more comfortable, lower their energy usage and save money on utility bills. ESN is dedicated to empowering the community through energy education and restoring the climate. To apply visit us at www.energysaversnetwork.org/apply or call (828) 585-4492.  Click here for details.

Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) –  In partnership with Buncombe County Health and Human Services, CIP provides assistance to eligible households that are in a heating related emergencies.  The goal of the CIP program is to help families stay warm in the winter.  Benefits may vary based upon the amount needed to alleviate the crisis.  An eligible household may receive assistance more than one time during the State Fiscal Year (July through June).  The maximum allowed benefit amount can be up to $600 per application, per crisis situation; however, benefits cannot exceed $600 per State fiscal year.  All payments are made directly to the vendor.

Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) –  Provides a one-time payment to the primary heat source vendor to help eligible low income families pay their heating bills.  Applications will start to be taken in December for certain groups of families such as the elderly (age 60 and up) or disabled (must meet certain eligibility requirements).  Applications for all others will be taken starting in January. 

Energy Neighbor (EN) – The Energy Neighbor Fund is an assistance program for Duke Energy customers in need, helping low-income individuals and families cover home energy bills regardless of their heating source.  Funds can be used for power, gas, oil or wood, for a Duke Energy customer,  and must provide a copy of the Duke Energy bill with the application.  Past due power and gas bills must be within 5 days of disconnect, oil tank must have six inches or less.

Helping Each Member Cope (HEMC) – Working with Haywood Electric Membership Corporation to assist families or individuals experiencing hardships paying energy costs brought about by extreme weather conditions, decrease in household income, or who are experiencing unusual and/or unexpected crises beyond their control.  HEMC funds helps pay for past due power bills or deposits with Haywood EMC or oil.  Past due power bills must be within five days of disconnection and oil tanks must have six inches or less.  If client is requesting oil, they must provide a copy of the HEMC power bill for the application

To apply for each program: 

  • Must be a resident of Buncombe County
  • Verification of income for all household members
  • Social Security cards for all household members
  • Picture ID
  • If utility bill is not in applicant’s name, and person on the bill is not a household resident, client must provide a signed letter from account holder stating person applying is responsible for the bill
  • Reserves at or below $2,250
  • Must have at least one U.S. citizen or noncitizen who meets the eligibility criteria

Income limits vary by program and household size. See the NC Division of Social Work Services income guidelines for details.