ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E) reminded customers Friday that the federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) emergency assistance program has been extended.

This reminder is for payment options, budget billing, and energy efficiency programs through HEAP that RG&E says will allow customers to help manage their bills.

The late payment charge suspension will continue through April 15. The company says they will not disconnect residential customers for nonpayment through March 27.

RG&E says customers in arrears may receive a shut-off notice if the customer has not yet reconciled their bills. The company adds this is necessary as customers apply for the emergency assistance.

HEAP is overseen by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, and is federally funded to help eligible New Yorkers heat and cool their homes.

A statement from Governor Hochul announcing the program in February says the amount a household receives from HEAP depends on income as well as the size of the household.

In most cases, eligible households can receive one regular HEAP benefit each winter and could also be eligible for a single emergency HEAP benefit if they face an energy crisis, according to Hochul’s statement.

The statement says a family of four can earn up to $5,485 per month and still qualify for assistance. A household that heats with oil and qualifies for regular HEAP benefits.

RG&E says bills for this heating season were much lower than expected, despite global price volatility increasing energy supply prices.

In their statement, RG&E says gas bills for RG&E customers were 17% higher than last year. Customers saw an 11% increase in their electric bills this year, which was lower than expected by 20%.

“There are many variables that impact the supply price of electricity and natural gas, but the
main factor that kept prices lower than anticipated this winter was related to supply and
demand,” said Patrick Fox, senior director of Energy Services for NYSEG and RG&E. “The
Northeast experienced a much warmer winter than forecasted, leading to lower demand, and
with no change in natural gas production levels, there was greater supply available for
natural gas customers and electric generation, which was the main driver to lower than
forecasted electric and natural gas prices.”

For information on bill assistance through HEAP, and other resources RG&E is offering, click here.