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montana-dakota utilities low income assistance information and covid 19 payment plan

Montana-Dakota Utilities COVID-19 Payment Plan

Montana-Dakota Utilities has established special payment plans for customers who have experienced a financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These plans are tailored to fit your individual financial situation. Please contact us at 800-638-3278 to discuss how we can best help you maintain service.

Beyond our COVID-19 Payment Plan, we are also able to direct you to federal, state, and local resources that offer financial assistance for those who qualify. More information about these programs is listed below.

Crisis Assistance Available

Many states are making changes to existing LIHEAP guidelines. Below is summary of changes to LIHEAP and a summary of Crisis Assistance for specific states. For information regarding your specific circumstance, please contact LIHEAP, your local Community Action Agency, or call 211.

Montana Assistance

2022-23 Heating Season

October 2022 through April 2023

  • Energy Assistance helps pay part of winter heating bills from October 1st through April 30th, and may help pay past due amounts and reconnect fees through September 30, 2023.
  • Emergency Assistance, in certain circumstances, is available to help with furnace repairs or emergencies.
  • If you’ve been approved for LIHEAP or SNAP, you may also be automatically eligible for the Low-Income Home Water Program (LIHWAP). Click here for more information or call 833-317-1080.
  • Montana-Dakota offers Montana customers a discount of up to 30 percent off your utility bill when you qualify for LIEAP. This discount is funded through the Universal Systems Benefit Program. For more information or to obtain an application, click here to visit the LIEAP website.

Montana Emergency Rental Assistance

    • The Montana Emergency Rental Assistance program is now available for Montanans who have lost household income as a direct or indirect result of the COVID-19 pandemic and are at risk of housing instability.
    • Renters can receive a monthly maximum of $2,200 for past due and future rent payments, up to $300 for past due and future utilities including gas and electric, and $50 per month for internet. Households can receive assistance for rent and utility bills dating back to April 1, 2020.
    • For more information and to apply click here.

North Dakota Assistance

If you find yourself having trouble paying your heating bills, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps low-income households pay part of their energy bills. You can find out if you are eligible for this program by calling 800-638-3278 and we will direct you to available assistance or by checking North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services about programs to help individuals and families in your area.

Changes to North Dakota Bill Payment Assistance

  • Existing LIHEAP changes
    • Emergency Assistance is available for up to 90 days prior to the emergency application date and qualifying households can receive Emergency Assistance more than once, depending on the crisis
    • A disconnection notice is not required
    • Costs must have been incurred from the current residence
    • Crisis grants can be used for reconnection fees but cannot be used for deposits
  • ND  RENT HELP is also available for people who have fallen behind or are struggling to pay rent and/or utilities. If you qualify, payments will be sent to your housing provider or your utility provider. For complete information, including how to apply for LIHEAP or ND Rent Help, click here.

South Dakota Assistance

  • The last date to apply for regular heating season benefits is March 31st of each year.
  • Households must meet the income qualifications to be eligible for the regular heating season benefits. You will need to fill out an application and send it to the state. You can obtain an application here.

Emergency Crisis Intervention Program:

Households that meet the below criteria will be eligible for emergency assistance. Households must meet the income qualifications to be eligible for the emergency program.

Eligible Services: ➢ Electric ➢ Reconnect Fees ➢ Deposits ➢ Late Fees

  • Must have an approved case for the 2022-23 heating season. There is not a separate application to apply for emergency assistance. Write on the top of the application “Emergency Assistance Needed.” This program runs from October 1st through March 31st.
  • Have emergency funds remaining. The emergency funds available is $2,400 per case, per heating season.
  • Summer Emergency Program will run from April 1st through September 3oth for electric service only. Benefits will not go toward any gas service. It will only be applied to electric.
  • For complete information, including how to apply, click here.

Wyoming Assistance

  • Rental Assistance through the Wyoming Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)
    • The U.S. Treasury has provided the State with funds to help cover rent and utility costs for those individuals and families that are struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The program may help with:  rent; maintaining safe housing and avoiding evictions; and utility bills.
    • Applications are available now. For eligibility requirements and to submit an application, visit the ERAP website.
  • Homeowner Assistance Fund
    • The purpose of the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) is to prevent mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020. Funds from the HAF may be used for assistance with mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance, utility payments, and other specified purposes. The law prioritizes funds for homeowners who have experienced the greatest hardships, leveraging local and national income indicators to maximize the impact.
    • Applications and eligibility requirements can be found here.

Heating Assistance

There are times when unexpected things happen. This includes having trouble paying your energy bill. Help is available through organizations in your area. Energy assistance organizations are run by private, nonprofit organizations or government agencies established to help people with energy-related emergencies in hardship circumstances. The organizations assist people with energy problems when no other resources are available to them and when these problems are caused by circumstances beyond their control.

If you need help, call Montana-Dakota at 800-638-3278 and we will direct you to available assistance in your area. To find out more about programs in your state that help eligible individuals and families with heating and insulation related costs in the winter, click the respective link below:

Heating Assistance Programs

North Dakota – LIHEAP
South Dakota – LIEAP
Montana – LIHEAP
Wyoming – LIEAP

For many of the organizations that provide help, donations generally come from voluntary contributions from individuals, organizations, churches, industry and the government.

If you would like to help, you contribute when you pay your MDU bill. Your tax-deductible gift will be sent to the energy assistance organization in your area. You also may contribute directly by contacting any organization listed below. Donations are voluntary:

Energy Share of Montana
3117 Cooney Dr.
Suite 102
Helena, MT 59602

Energy Share of N.D.
PO Box 507
Jamestown, ND 58402

Church Response S.D.
30 Main St.
Rapid City, SD 57701

Energy Share of Wyoming
c/o Align
1401 Parkway, Suite 300
Cheyenne, WY 82001

Dial 2-1-1

211 works a bit like 911.  Calls to 211 are routed by the local telephone company to a local or regional calling center.  The 211 center’s referral specialists receive requests from callers, access databases of resources available from private and public health and human service agencies, match the callers’ needs to available resources, and link or refer them directly to an agency or organization that can help.

Types of Referrals Offered by 211 

  • Basic Human Needs Resources – including food and clothing banks, shelters, rent assistance, and utility assistance.
  • Physical and Mental Health Resources – including health insurance programs, Medicaid and Medicare, maternal health resources, health insurance programs for children, medical information lines, crisis intervention services, support groups, counseling, and drug and alcohol intervention and rehabilitation.
  • Work Support – including financial assistance, job training, transportation assistance and education programs.
  • Access to Services in Non-English Languages – including language translation and interpretation services to help non-English-speaking people find public resources (Foreign language services vary by location.)
  • Support for Older Americans and Persons with Disabilities – including adult day care, community meals, respite care, home health care, transportation and homemaker services.
  • Children, Youth and Family Support – including child care, after-school programs, educational programs for low-income families, family resource centers, summer camps and recreation programs, mentoring, tutoring and protective services.
  • Suicide Prevention – referral to suicide prevention help organizations.