HELENA – Staff at the Rocky Mountain Development Council (RMDC) are reminding people to take advantage of energy assistance programs, if they qualify, to help reduce heating costs this winter.
The State of Montana offers the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) October 1 through April 30 of each year to qualified individuals.
LIEAP pays part of winter energy bills for eligible people and is managed on a local level throughout the state by Human Resource Development Councils, such as RMDC.
Eligibility for fuel assistance depends on a household’s income and resource limits. Homeowners and renters can both apply for the program.
In 2017 more than 2,200 households in Lewis and Clark, Jefferson and Broadwater counties benefited from energy assistance through LIEAP, according to RMDC.
RMDC Community Outreach Coordinator Jacque Smith encourages anyone that might be struggling with their energy bill to reach out to RMDC staff.
“We really try to simplify the process with our staff on hand,” said Smith, “We’re always open to walk-ins or answer any questions people might have. “
Smith added that no one should have to choose between being warm and other care needs.
“Someone might be in a tough situation where they’re trying to feed their family and keeping warm during the winter months,” said Smith, “Come in to talk to us, know about our LIEAP program and know that there are people here to help.”
RMDC will also assist with heating emergencies, such as a furnace going out, for LIEAP recipients.
“We’ll have someone there within 24 hours to deal with that heat emergency which is a huge benefit to being on LIEAP,” said Smith.
A Weatherization Program offered by the state is also available to qualified households, to help participants improve the heating efficiency of their homes, and reduce their energy consumption.
For more information about LIEAP, including qualification requirements, visit here.
-John Riley reporting for MTN News