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Help for your home energy bill

Many Montanans have heard about Energy Share of Montana, but may not realize exactly what it does.

Energy Share helps Montanans who are facing loss of heat or lights in their homes and who have no resources to pay the bill themselves. Assistance is situationally-based, not income-based. This means that even if someone has an income that is higher than normal poverty guidelines, if their situation is such that they’re about to lose their heat or lights and they have no money in the bank to pay that bill, there is a good chance Energy Share can help them.

There is an endless variety of circumstances that can lead to the necessity of seeking help with a bill, but here are just a few examples of situations with which Energy Share helped last year:

• A single adult male was in the hospital for an extended period of time and fell behind on bills due to missed work. Although his energy provider was willing to work with him, it got to a point where he needed to pay the rest of the bill, but simply did not have the money to do so.

• The husband/father in a family with three children was injured on the job. His wife had just started a new job and didn’t yet have her first paycheck. While waiting to hear back from Workman’s comp, they ran very short on funds.

• Tragically, a single mother was diagnosed with severe health issues, has to be admitted to the hospital every two-three weeks, and is no longer able to work. She applied for disability and is waiting to go out of state for further medical care.

Last heating season, Energy Share helped 1,730 Montana families in situations such as this with an average of $602 per home. While the number of families that were helped increased slightly from the previous year, the average assistance per family increased 40% from the year before. People are struggling financially! The great thing about living in Montana is that we help each other. Energy Share was able to assist these families last year because individuals and organizations donate to make that happen.

Montana’s Human Resource Development Councils (HRDCs) are the best point of contact for people needing help with home energy bills. The HRDCs handle applications for Energy Share and LIHEAP (the federally-funded energy assistance program). Additionally, they are usually aware of other programs available in the community.

If you or someone you know is struggling to pay their home energy bill, please contact Energy Share or your local HRDC. All information is kept confidential. Here are some ways to touch base:

• Energy Share of Montana, 1-888-779-7589 or 406-442-4900,

• On Energy Share’s website there is a list of HRDCs with phone numbers. Here is the link for that list:

• Action for Eastern Montana (AEM) in Glendive at 1-800-227-0703 or

Please remember that it is hard to ask for help! If you know someone who really should be on the receiving end of Energy Share but is hesitant to ask, please come alongside them as they reach out for assistance. In Montana, neighbors help neighbors and that’s what Energy Share is all about.


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