CHARLESTON, WV – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has reported international natural gas and liquefied natural gas prices hit record highs in the last quarter of 2021 and first half of 2022. Natural gas utility companies in West Virginia are currently filing their annual 30C cases with the PSC to adjust the purchased gas portion of their rates. Some of those requests are as much as 173% above the rates the Commission approved last year. The Commission does not regulate the price of natural gas; that price is determined by competitive markets. The EIA also reports that the large increase in natural gas fuel costs over the past year is driving up wholesale electricity prices throughout the United States.
The Public Service Commission is concerned about the effect these increasing prices are having and is advising customers where they can look for assistance.
Customers facing difficulties paying their utility bills should first contact WV211 to see what financial assistance may be available in their area, including churches and local charities.
Customers should also contact their local West Virginia DHHR office to apply for assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a federally funded program that helps low-income citizens pay for home heating and cooling, weatherizing your home and minor energy-related home repairs. DHHR also administers the 20% Discount Program, available from November through March to qualifying low-income customers.
Dollar Energy’s West Virginia Utility Assistance Program may be able to provide a one-time grant to help pay electric, gas or water bills. If LIHEAP is available, you must apply for that program before applying for the Dollar Energy program. A link to Dollar Energy may be found on the PSC website: www.psc.state.wv.us.
The West Virginia Housing Development Fund administers assistance programs for renters and homeowners who are struggling because of the pandemic or COVID-19. The Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program and the West Virginia Homeowner Rescue Program can help with utility bill payments, rent and mortgage assistance. Detailed information, including eligibility requirements, are on the West Virginia Housing Development Fund website at www.wvhdf.com.