MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

TRENTON, N.J. - With winter cold just around the corner, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes is reminding residents that assistance is available for energy costs for those who qualify. The County’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) allows individuals meeting various income qualifications to apply for bill payment assistance, energy crisis assistance, and energy-related home repairs.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is designed to help low-income families and individuals meet home heating and medically necessary cooling costs. This year, the application period is Oct. 1, 2012, to April 30, 2013. To be eligible for LIHEAP benefits, the applicant household must be responsible for home heating or cooling costs, either directly or included in the rent; and have gross income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. An eligibility chart for 2013 can be found on the Mercer County website at http://nj.gov/counties/mercer/departments/pdfs/hcd_heapannouncement2012.pdf.

“For many households, winter brings worry about the cost of heating and other energy bills,” said Hughes. “As this year’s program gets under way, I also urge our residents to look into simple ways they can reduce their energy costs such as using fluorescent light bulbs and weather-stripping doors and windows.”

Hughes urges people to be extremely careful if using an alternative heat source, such as fireplace, wood burning stove, kerosene heater or space heater, to reduce energy costs.

Individuals meeting various income qualifications can apply for bill payment assistance, energy crisis assistance, and energy-related home repairs. Last year’s clients can expect to receive a recertification form within the first week of the heating season, which begins on Oct. 1, 2012. New clients, as well as returning clients, can contact Home Energy Assistance at (609) 989-6858 or 989-6959. Monies are from the federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Department of Health and Human Services, and funding levels are established annually. The program runs from Oct. 1, 2012, to April 30, 2013.

Please note: All Mercer County offices will be closed Monday Oct. 8, 2012, for Columbus Day; Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, for Election Day and Monday, Nov. 12, 2012, for Veterans Day. Information on the LIHEAP and Weatherization Programs is also available at all nine branches of the Mercer County Library System, at the Mercer County website, and at 640 South Broad St., Trenton, NJ.