The Department of Public Service does not provide direct financial assistance to consumers. However, there are programs to help consumers who face financial difficulties in establishing, maintaining, and/or restoring utility service. Here are some places to get help:
Vermont Emergency Rental Assistance Program (VERAP)
Eligible Vermont tenants can apply for utility bill assistance for help with up to 12 months of past-due or current bills (up to a $10,000 maximum combined total). Utilities covered by VERAP include: electricity, natural gas, water and sewer, trash removal, fuel oil and other energy costs.
Vermont COVID-19 Arrearage Assistance Program [Note: a new VCAAP will be starting in July/August 2021, stay tuned]
Under the Vermont COVID-19 Arrearage Assistance Program, Vermonters suffering economic hardship from COVID-19 will be able to get help to pay their arrearages for residential and non-residential accounts. The program will provide financial support to customers of regulated utilities who may face disconnection of service because of past-due balances.
Vermont Temporary Broadband Subsidy Program [Note: a new (2021) Temporary Broadband Subsidy Program has started]
The New Vermont Temporary Broadband Subsidy (TBS) Program provides eligible Vermont households with a credit to assist with Internet service subscriptions. Residential account holders who have suffered an economic hardship due to COVID-19 and require high-speed Internet services for a qualifying need may receive a temporary credit of up to $40 per month toward an Internet service subscription.
Federal Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBBP)
The EBBP will provide eligible households with discounts of up to $50/month for broadband service and associated equipment rentals, and up to $75/month if the household is on Tribal lands. It also provides a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50) for eligible households.
Both Green Mountain Power and Vermont Gas offer discounts to qualifying low-income customers. For more information, or to download an application for either program, please see the Vermont Department for Children and Families Energy Assistance webpage.
Agencies Providing Financial Assistance
Information about state and other agencies that offer financial assistance to consumers can be found on the Where to Get Financial Assistance webpage.
Lifeline Telecommunications Program
Lifeline is a federal program that provides to eligible households a $5.25 monthly discount on phone-only service or phone and internet bundled service that meets the minimum service standards for voice service, or a $9.25 monthly discount for internet-only service or bundled voice and internet service that meets the minimum service standards for internet service. Vermont’s Universal Service Fund (VUSF) provides an additional discount on telephone service only; the amount varies depending on the provider and the cost of service, but may not exceed $4.25 per month or the amount of the VUSF credit you received as of November 1, 2017. For more information, please visit the Lifeline Telecommunications Program webpage.
Programs for Consumers with Disabilities
Vermont offers consumers with disabilities several programs to help stay connected to the telephone system. Please see the Resources for People with Disabilities webpage for more information.
Heating Fuel (Group Discounts)
There are several fuel-group organizations that help their members save money by purchasing heating fuel in bulk at discounted rates negotiated with commercial fuel dealers. These include (but are not necessarily limited to): Energy Co-op of Vermont, Ruth Clark Fuel Group, and VHeat Fuel Buying Program (through the Vermont State Employees Credit Union).