curved lines

LSNJ LAW has just been redesigned to better answer your legal questions, help you with your legal problems, or just teach you more about the law.
Please visit our new Web site at

LSNJLAW: You and the Law in New Jersey
  Read ThisOnline IntakeGet More HelpAbout LSNJEspanolSite Map

Debt and Purchases

Home Help      
Home Page > Debt and Purchases > Utilities

Utilities Resource List


New Jersey Energy Assistance Programs

  • Temporary Relief for Utility Expenses (TRUE) Grant

    • TRUE helps moderate-income households who are behind in their PSE&G bills, providing a one-time grant of up to $1500 ($750 gas and $750 electric.)
    • Eligibility:
      • A two person household must have an annual income between $29,000 and $69,853. A four person household must have an annual income between $44,112 and $103,034.
      • Be 45 days past due on your PSE&G bill or have received a shut off notice.
      • Demonstrate that four payments of at least $25 each have been made in the last 6 months.
      • Not have received LIHEAP or USF benefits in the last year.

    For additional information or to obtain an application, call toll free 1-855-465-8783, go to a local PSE&G Customer Service Center, or visit Temporary Relief for Utility Expenses (TRUE).

  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

    • LIHEAP is designed to help low-income families and individuals meet home heating and medically necessary cooling costs.
    • Subsidies are determined by income, household size, fuel type, and heating region.
    • Eligibility:
      • Eligible households must have a gross income below 175% of the federal poverty level.
      • Eligible households must also be responsible for their own heating and cooling costs directly to the supplier or costs included in rent.
    • Applications being accepted from November 1st to March 31st.
    • To apply, contact the authorized local community action agency or community based organization in your area listed below or at Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

    For further information, call 1-800-510-3102 or visit New Jersey Energy Assistance.

  • Universal Service Fund (USF)

    • USF helps eligible low-income households pay for electric and natural gas service. The goal of the program is to ensure that eligible utility customers only have to pay an affordable portion of their household income for energy costs.
    • Eligibility:
      • Eligible household incomes must be less than or equal to 175% of the Federal Poverty Level.
      • Eligible households must spend at least 3% of their income for electric service or at least 3% of their income on natural gas service. If the household has electric heat, the household must spend more than 6% of their income on electricity.
      • You must reside at the address provided on your utility account. USF benefits will only be offered to the person/head of household listed on the account.
      • Food stamp recipients are automatically eligible.
    • If eligible, households will receive a credit on their utility bill each month to help reduce the cost of the bill. The amount of the credit will be determined for each individual depending on annual household income, other Energy Assistance Benefits, and the annual energy burden based on past utility bills.
    • The maximum total annual USF benefit for any given household is $1800.
    • When LIHEAP applications are being accepted, you can apply for both LIHEAP and USF with the same application. You may apply for USF any time during the year.
    • You will need to reapply for USF benefits every year. You will receive notice to remind you when you need to reapply.
    • If you move during the year, you are still eligible to receive benefits. You must let your new utility company know that you are a USF recipient so that they can review and activate your account.
    • If you have moved and you have no utility history to base your benefit on, USF is to use the statewide average in its calculations.
    • This program is also available to undocumented citizens as long as there is 1 person in the household who is eligible.
    • To apply, contact the authorized local community action agency or community based organization in your area listed below or at Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

      USF’s Fresh Start Program

    • If you have a utility balance of $60 or more when you enter the USF program, you may be eligible for additional benefits through the Fresh Start Program.
    • If you pay your bill on time every month for the first 12 months that you are enrolled in USF, your overdue balance will be forgiven.
    • If you are eligible for this program, you will be automatically enrolled with your LIHEAP/USF application.
    • This benefit can only be used once and is only for new USF recipients.

    For more information about USF and the Fresh Start Program, call 1-866-240-1347 or visit New Jersey Energy Assistance.

  • New Jersey Lifeline (NJLL)

    • NJLL is a utility assistance program that provides $225 credit toward natural gas and electric bills ($112.50 per service)
    • One credit is given per eligible household, per year.
    • Applications are accepted year round.
    • Eligibility:
      • Senior Citizens at least 65 years old or disabled adults at least 18 years old who receive Social Security Disability benefits
      • PADD recipients automatically eligible
      • Single- no more than $21,850 annual income
      • Married- no more than $26,791 annual income

    For more information and applications, call 1-800-792-9745 or visit any of the PSE&G Customer Service Centers, listed below, to pick up an application. Applications can also be downloaded.

  • New Jersey Statewide Heating Assistance and Referral for Energy Services (NJ SHARES)

    • NJ Shares is a non-profit organization who assists people who have fallen behind in their natural gas and electric utility bills due to a temporary financial crisis.
    • Eligibility:
      • No income guidelines to qualify.
      • Must demonstrate a temporary financial need.
      • Must have made a good faith payment of at least $100 to service providers within 90 days prior to application.
      • NJ Shares provides relief to those who are not already receiving TANF, GA, LIHEAP, or USF.
    • Maximum grant of $250 for natural gas and $250 for electric. If you have electric heat, then a maximum of $500 may be granted.
    • Applications can be found at local agencies listed below or at Where to Apply (from NJ Shares).
    • When applying, you will need identification, your utility bill, and proof of income.
    • Emergency cases can be handled within 48 hours of notifying the NJ Shares office. Most cases are approved or denied within 7-10 business days of application. When approved, grants applied directly to bill within 15-20 days of application.

    For more information, please call 1-866-657-4273 or visit NJ SHARES.

  • PSE&G Equal Payment Plan (EPP)

    • EPP lets you pay the same amount each month for your gas and electric bills.
    • Pay a fixed amount each month.

    For more information, call 1-888-275-PSEG (7734) or visit Equal Payment Plan.

  • New Jersey Comfort Partners

    • Statewide low-income energy conservation program sponsored by utility companies in conjunction with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
    • This Program is designed to improve energy affordability for income eligible households. This objective is accomplished through the direct installation of energy efficiency measures, personalized customer energy education and counseling, free of charge.
    • Participating customers may also qualify for an account balance reduction.
    • Participants are asked to partner with the program to develop and carry out a household energy savings Action Plan.
    • Direct installation of cost-effective energy efficiency measures in the home (determined on a home-specific basis) which can include: efficient lighting products; hot water conservation measures (water heater insulation, water heater pipe insulation and energy-saving showerheads and aerators); replacement of inefficient refrigerators; thermostats; insulation upgrades (attic, wall, etc.); blower-door guided air sealing; duct sealing and repair; heating/cooling equipment maintenance and other home-specific measures
    • The free service also includes comprehensive, personalized energy education and counseling; and account balance reduction for qualified participants who agree to payment plans.
    • Eligibility:
      • Total Household Income my be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level
      • Participants of TANF, LIHEAP, USF, Lifeline, Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD), or Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
      • Customer of record with a separately metered electric or gas account.
      • Live in a building with 1-4 units. (Larger buildings may be included at the discretion of the local utility.)
    • Participation is prioritized by energy use with the highest energy users being served first.
    • Renters must first get signed, written permission from landlord for participation.

For more information or to apply, call 1-888-773-8326 or visit New Jersey Comfort Partners.

  • Weatherization Assistance Program and Home Energy Assistance Programs

    • Weatherization helps to ensure that you home holds heat or air conditioning in, while keeping cold or hot air out.
    • Similar to NJ Comfort Partners, the Department of Community Affairs has sought to provide a program to assist those who need help managing their utilities’ effectiveness and the high cost of energy bills.
    • The program works with community-based agencies to assist the elderly, disabled, and people with low-incomes in weatherizing their homes to improve their heating system efficiency, conserve energy, and decrease bills.
    • Eligibility:
      • Total household income must be at or below 175% of the Federal Poverty Level.
      • You must rent or own your home.
      • Not have received this weatherization service within the last 10 years.
    • Available weatherization services include:
      • Insulation
      • Caulking and Weather stripping
      • Compact Fluorescent Lighting
      • Refrigerator Replacement
      • Heating System Repair, Retrofit, or Replacement
      • Hot Water Heater Repair or Replacement
      • Window and/or Door Repair or Replacement
    • Larger buildings do qualify for this program, unlike NJ Comfort Partners, if 66% of the residents meet the eligibility requirements. Although, individual units may still participate if eligible.

    For more information call 1-800-510-3102 or 609-292-6140. Further information and applications are available at local county agencies, listed below and at Weatherization Application Outreach Centers.

  • Winter Termination Program

    • The Winter Termination Program was adopted by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and protects certain residential customers from shut-offs during the winter months, usually in effect from November 15 to March 15.
    • Eligibility:
      • Recipients of NJ Lifeline, PAAD, LIHEAP, TANF/GA, SSI, NJ SHARES, or USF
      • Or if you are unable to pay you utilities bill because of circumstances beyond your control.
    • To take advantage of this program:
      • Contact your utility provider(s)
      • Make a “good faith” payment
      • Ask about an affordable payment plan and/or other energy assistance programs
    • To avoid shut-off after the Winter Termination Protection ends:
      • Continue to make “good faith” payments
      • Apply for other energy assistance programs
      • Ask about affordable payment plans
    • Shut-offs can still occur in the winter months. Shut-offs only occur before 12:00 noon and when temperature is above freezing.
    • Utilities will not shut-off if necessary medical equipment is in the home. You must notify utility company.

    For more information, call 1-800-357-2262 or 1-800-624-0241 or visit New Jersey Energy Assistance Programs.

  • Conservation
    • Tips on how you can protect yourself and manage your own energy costs can be found at New Jersey's Clean Energy Program.
    • Here are some examples on how to conserve energy:
      • If you have storm windows, make sure they are down and in place to seal off drafts.
      • Repair and insulate ductwork in unconditioned spaces.
      • Insulate your attic.
      • Select energy-efficient equipment when you buy new heating equipment.
      • Look for the Energy Star and Energy Guide Labels when shopping for appliances.
      • Replace incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
      • Keep draperies and shades on your south facing windows open during the day to allow sunlight in and keep them closed at night.
      • Caulk, seal, and weather-strip all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside.
      • Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month.
      • Install and use a programmable thermostat.

    For more information call the toll-free Energy Conservation Line:
    1-800-854-4444 24 hours a day or visit New Jersey's Clean Energy Program.  

This information last reviewed 10/25/11.


Top of page Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Glossary

Low-income New Jerseyans can get free legal help by phone: call our toll-free hotline at 1-888-LSNJ-LAW (1-888-576-5529), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Outside of New Jersey, please call 732-572-9100 and ask to be transferred to the hotline.