CIRCLEVILLE — As the temperature rises in Central Ohio, Pickaway County Community Action is once again stepping up to provide assistance with energy bills and/or air conditioning repairs.

The Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program (HEAP) started July 1 and runs through Sept. 30.

The Summer Crisis Program assists low-income households with an older household member (60 years or older), that can provide physician documentation that cooling assistance is needed for a household member’s health, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, have a disconnect notice, have been shut off, are trying to establish new service on their electric bill, or require air conditioning. Conditions can include such things as lung disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or asthma.

“Last year, more than 284 families in Pickaway County were assisted through the Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program,” Nick Pruiitt, PICCA Energy Director said.

“While the agency is currently open to the public, we are still able to conduct phone interviews for clients who are considered high-risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, this year’s program allows us to provide qualifying applicants with both utility assistance and cooling assistance according to new program guidelines,” Pruitt added.

“PICCA has developed a great working relationship with Grainger to provide air conditioning units and fans directly to the client’s front door.”

Eligible households can receive up to $500 if they are a customer of a regulated utility or $800 if they are a customer of unregulated utilities such as electric cooperatives and municipal utilities.

The assistance is applied to their utility bill or to purchase an air conditioning unit or fan, or pay for central air conditioning repairs. Families must have a gross income at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines to qualify for assistance. For a family of four, the annual income must be at or below $45,850.

“Many of the program guidelines and eligibility requirements have changed, so please contact PICCA and make an appointment to determine if we can assist you with your utility needs,” Hammond said.

Residents can visit energyhelp.ohio.gov to start their application prior to their required appointment. This year appointments can be held over the phone or in person at PICCA, which is located at 469 East Ohio Street, Circleville, Ohio, 43113.

For more information about the features of the Summer Crisis Program locally and what is needed to apply, contact Pickaway County Community Action at 740-477-1655. To schedule an appointment to meet with a case manager, call 800-282-0880.

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