Keeping your electric on is also essential to survival, especially during summer and winter months and in areas of the country with harsher climates. Electric companies often issue termination protection periods during harsher weather, which offer temporary reprieves for people struggling to pay the electric bill. Termination protection is either initiated by the electric companies on their own volition or mandated by the states in which they operate.
A federal government service in place to help pay your electric bill no matter your financial situation. This program is called the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. LIHEAP is funded by the federal government and is designed to help qualified low-income customers pay for heating, cooling and general electric services during times of hardship.
LIHEAP also pays for home improvements up to a certain budget limitation. This weatherization process helps make electric bills more cost-effective and residences more energy efficient.
Qualifying for LIHEAP is again largely income dependent. Serious medical conditions and chronic disabilities are also considered factors. Similar to Lifeline, LIHEAP almost always automatically accepts customers already enrolled in other specific government benefits programs.
Electric companies also offer assistance programs Customer Assistance Programs (CAPs), which offer both general and specific assistance as much as financially possible.
There are laws called consumer protection laws in place to make sure you are taken care of in extreme conditions, no matter your financial situation. It is unlawful for electric companies to disconnect service during significantly adverse weather conditions, extremely high temperatures and extremely low temperatures. It is also difficult for electric companies to legally shut off the electricity for people with certain disabilities and chronic/severe medical conditions.
Consumer protections laws are in place to prevent the young, sick and elderly from suffering medical-related issues or death due to losing power. These laws vary from state to state.