Energy assistance available through local agencies

Published 7:13 pm Thursday, November 29, 2018

While warmer temperatures are forecasted for the weekend, Beaufort County’s weather in the past few weeks has left little doubt the cold of winter is upon us. With the dip in temperatures comes an increase in energy costs as households throughout the area bump up the thermostat, order heating oil and make all the other necessary preparations to weather the cold.

For those who struggle to keep their homes warm this winter, there are a number of places to turn to for assistance.


Earlier this week, the Beaufort County Department of Social Services announced the kick off of the annual Low Income Energy Assistance Program. Beginning Monday, the agency will begin accepting applications for energy assistance from households with members ages 60 and older as well as individuals with disabilities who receive assistance from the N.C. Division of Aging and Adult Services. All other households may potentially receive benefits from Jan. 1 to March 31 until funds are exhausted.

According to DSS Income Maintenance Administrator Amy Alligood, hundreds of households in Beaufort County receive assistance through the program each year. During December 2017 and January 2018, 979 households received assistance.

“It’s really nice, especially in the month of December, that we’re able to reach that target population,” Alligood said. “Heating expenses can really put families in a bind with their budget this time of year.”

While applicants can fill out the necessary paperwork from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at the DSS office at 632 W. Fifth St. in Washington, applications will also be taken in Aurora and Belhaven on specific dates. In Aurora, applicants can apply from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 13 and Dec. 20 at the Aurora Community Building. Belhaven residents can apply during the same hours Dec. 12 and Dec. 19 at St. James Episcopal Church.


Under the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Weatherization Assistance Program, qualified households may receive assistance weatherizing their homes against the elements. In order to qualify, household incomes must be at or below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines. The process of weatherization involves improving insulation, heating system tune-ups and energy efficiency evaluations.

Additionally, households at or below 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines may also qualify for the Heating and Air Repair and Replacement program. Participants in the HARRP program are typically also served under the federal government Weatherization program.

In Beaufort County, Coastal Community Action administers both programs. According to CCA Weatherization Director Stacey Ellege, the agency receives funding for 10 weatherization projects and five heating and air repair and replacement projects per year in Beaufort County. The agency has an established waiting list and homes are addressed by need.

For more information, visit or call 252-223-1630.


When Hurricane Florence passed through Beaufort County in September, many flooded households suffered damage to their heating and air systems, as well as ductwork throughout the household.

“There are a lot of people who are insured who were waiting on contractors,” Lisa Williams said. “We have these heaters, and we want them to be used.”

In an effort to help keep these households heated, Beaufort County Emergency Services is offering a limited number of heaters for loan. To qualify, homeowners and renters can call 252-940-6517 and leave a message with their name, phone number and address.