How to Get Help with Electric, Light and Utility Bills

When something unexpected happens, even the best financial planners can have their budgets upended causing financial hardship. The event could be a surprise medical bill, vehicle repairs, broken water heater, job loss, or any number of other unexpected challenges that you have to deal with and that cause financial pain.

Surprises like these are going to cost money and stretch your budget. In the case of a medical bill or vehicle damage, your expenses will be more than planned. In the case of a job loss or layoff, your income will be reduced.

And just because something unexpected like this happens, the fixed expenses that you had planned for do not go away. Bills like rent, mortgage, groceries, and utilities still need to be paid. One of the biggest monthly expenses that you may have each month are your utility payments.

The best-case scenario when you face an unexpected financial event is that you have emergency funds to cover the expense. But if that isn’t the case, there are ways to get emergency financial help with the electric bill or other utilities.

How to negotiate bill repayment and/or postponement with the Utility Company

It may come as a surprise, but you may be able to negotiate with your utility company to reduce your bills!

Even if you only have one choice for electricity or water in your area, most companies offer some sort of payment plan option. The best way to learn more about your local provider’s bill repayment or postponement plans is to visit their website or give them a call.

Utility companies would likely rather be paid a small amount versus nothing, so they may be willing to work with you to help you pay what you can. Negotiating and speaking to your utility provider may provide you with a way to keep your lights on and water running for a rate that works with your budget.

Depending on where you live, you may be able to choose between utility providers. If you live in an area with choices in utility providers, you may be able to use Electric Choice to find the best rates on utilities for your home.

Five ways to get help with utility bills

If your utility company is unwilling or unable to help you by negotiating a lower repayment amount or by offering you a payment plan, there are some other options to consider. Those options are described below.

Non-profits, charities and social service organizations

There are non-profit organizations, charities and social service organizations that offer assistance to low-income individuals and families that are in need of financial support, including potentially helping with payment of utility bills.

If you’re having trouble playing your utility bills, consider reaching out to local organizations and see what kind of assistance they can offer. Even if an organization doesn’t provide assistance with the exact bill that you can’t pay, they may be able to provide assistance in another area that frees up money to cover your utility bills.

Religious Organizations

Various religious organizations often provide food and clothing assistance to low-income families and those in need. While these kinds of programs most likely won’t write a check to your utility provider, they can provide services to help reduce your other expenses, enabling you to use that money to cover your utility bills.

Government grants and programs

Through LIHEAP - the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program - the US government provides support for qualifying low-income individuals and families. LIHEAP covers everything from heating and air conditioning costs, to bill payment assistance, to energy-related home repairs.

Other government programs to consider if you are struggling financially are TANF, and SSI.

Credit Cards

If used responsibly, credit cards could be an option to pay a utility bill. Services like Plastiq allow you to pay virtually any expense with your credit card.

Just make sure to pay off the credit card balance before the due date so you don’t get hit with a late payment fee or hurt your credit score. You should also consider the interest rate that your credit card charges before making a payment with a credit card.

Family and friends

Asking for support from family and friends can be hard, but it can also be one of your best options when you’re in a financial bind. If clear repayment terms are agreed to by both parties, borrowing from your family and friends can be one of the easiest and cheapest options for help with an emergency expense.

How LendUp can help you pay your utility bills

LendUp offers personal loans that may be able to assist consumers who need emergency money.

LendUp understands that you are more than your credit score, so we work with borrowers with a wide range of credit profiles. And our loans never have hidden fees or debt traps.

Applications can be submitted at any time through LendUp’squick, online application process. Loan decisions are made almost instantly, and if you are approved, money can arrive in your bank account in as little as one business day.

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