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Utility bills can be expensive. In 2020, the US government reported that the average electric bill per house was $117.46—a hefty amount for anyone, but especially for households that are struggling with poverty, debt, or unemployment. And unfortunately, experts are warning that the cost of energy will likely continue to increase in the near future, a trend due in part to the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For people who are already experiencing financial challenges, high utility bills can be especially frustrating and concerning. Fortunately, organizations that help pay utility bills do exist. If you or someone you know needs help paying their utility bill, consider looking into the following options:


  • Apply for government-sponsored aid. LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) is a federally funded program that helps families in need with energy bills, energy crises, and even weatherization or energy-related home repairs. Although LIHEAP is funded by the federal government, assistance is distributed on the state and local level. To check your eligibility or get more information on funding in your area, use LIHEAP's database of local energy assistance providers or call the National Energy Assistance Referral Project at 1-866-674-6327.

    For residents of Alameda County, Spectrum Community Services can help eligible families with their PG&E and Alameda Municipal Power bills. Thanks to additional $5.7 million in funding, Spectrum is able to offer up to $3,000 in utility assistance to pay off past-due balances from now until February 2022.
  • Reach out to your utility company. Some utility companies offer financial aid or payment plans for customers who are experiencing financial hardship. Check the bottom of your utility statement for information, visit their website, or call your energy provider to see what sort of options are available to you. These programs aren't always widely advertised, so when in doubt, it's best to reach out directly.
  • Look to local nonprofits and charities. Many private organizations offer financial aid that can help with your utility bill. In particular, nonprofits such as the Salvation Army and religiously affiliated charities can be a good place to start.


Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance, outreach programs, and services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives. Visit our website for more information on our senior meals program or to download a copy or our energy assistance application.