Get Help With Your Bill

Where do I begin?

If you are falling behind or struggling to pay your gas and/or electric bill, there is help available. You do not need a turn-off notice to get help.

The Office of People's Counsel does not provide funding for your gas and electric bill. We also do not provide in-person assistance. If you need information, feel free to contact our office.

Call your utility

Find out how much you owe: When you are behind on your bill, it can be intimidating calling your utility company, but it is the best first step. Call them and explain your situation. Ask the utility how much you owe. You need to make sure that you think the amount is correct and you need to know what you are dealing with.

Ask about financial assistance programs: When you are speaking to your utility company, ask them about any financial assistance programs that might be available to you to help pay your bill.

If you have a turn-off notice: If you have a turn-off notice, you may consider requesting an extension. An extension is not guaranteed as the utility will take several factors into consideration.

Advise the utility of medical issues: Let the utility know If anyone in the home has a serious illness or uses medical equipment that would be impacted by loss of service. There are extra protections in place for households who have a Medical Certification Form on file with their utility company. Learn more about the Medical Certification Form here

Negotiate a payment plan: The utility can look at a number of things when deciding whether to grant your payment plan request. The best way to negotiate a payment plan is to provide specific reasons for any past-due bills. Be prepared to explain your current income situation and offer solutions on how you might catch up with your payments. The utility company will likely request a down payment in order for you to enter into a payment plan. Be sure to write down who you spoke with, the date, and the time. 

Self-service options: If you prefer to go online instead of calling your utility, many utilities have self-service options available. You may be able to set up a payment plan, check your bill amount, and request an extension online depending on the utility company. Check out your utility company's website to learn more about available online options.

Pay what you can: Pay something every month, even if it isn’t the full amount. Make an effort to stay on top of the utility bill.

Apply for resources to help pay your bill

Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP): If you are struggling to pay your utility bill there is help available. You may consider applying for financial assistance from OHEP. OHEP is a state-run program that helps income-eligible households pay their energy and fuel bills. You do not need a turn-off notice to apply. When you fill out the OHEP application you are applying for four grants and for free weatherization for your home to help lower your monthly costs.

There are several ways to apply to OHEP. 

1) Apply online here

2) Drop off or mail your completed application with all documents to your local OHEP office. Find the address to your local OHEP office here. For a fillable application, click here

3) Email your completed application with all documents to your local OHEP office. Find the email address to your local OHEP office here. For an fillable application, click here.

Tips for applying to OHEP: 

1. Watch the video below first.

2. Consider a paper application and drop it off at your local OHEP office, especially if you have a turn-off notice. 

3. Make copies of all of your documents before you  drop off your application to your local OHEP office.

4. If you have a turn-off notice, we suggest you walk into you local OHEP office for help. Make sure that you get a 55-day hold. 


When you are applying for OHEP, consider checking the box for the USPP Program. USPP stands for, the Utility Service Protection Program. USPP is a utility program required by the Public Service Commission. You can enroll in this program when you apply to the Office of Home Energy Programs for financial assistance and receive the Maryland Energy Assistance grant. If you enroll into the USPP Program:

You are enrolled into budget billing.

If you are off service, there is no reconnection fee or security deposit if you make the designated payment for outstanding arrearages.

First time USPP applicants who are off service must be reconnected if arrears are reduced to $400.

Current participants who are off service must pay an amount that reduces arrears to $400 or the total outstanding monthly payments, whichever is greater.

Before you start your OHEP application, watch this short video for tips on how to apply and get it right the first time.

Haven't heard from OHEP? Check the status of your application at The status of your application should appear on this website 15-20 business days after OHEP receives your application. You will need to enter the last name of the applicant, have the last 4 digits of their social security number, and have their date of birth in order to look up the status. Once you log in, the website will give you information about where your application is in the process, if you have been awarded grants, or if there is an issue with your application.

If you do not see an updated status on this website, call and email your local OHEP and request a status update. Keep checking your mail, email, and voicemail for information from OHEP. They will attempt to connect with you if there is any issue with your application. Click here for contact information to your local office. 

Look for other funding

Fuel Fund: For those who need help with their energy bills and have already used OHEP or are over income for OHEP, Fuel Fund may be another option. The Fuel Fund of Maryland assists eligible BGE customers with paying their utility bills after they complete OHEP (the person has received receipt of grants or has been denied for over income). The Fuel Fund of Maryland also helps with bulk fuel assistance for the entire state between November 1- March 31 each year.

For more information about the Fuel Fund or to apply for help, visit their website to fill out an application or call 410-235-9080 for assistance.

211: 211MD is a 24/7/365 helpline that provides information and referrals to other financial assistance resources in your area. You can contact them in three ways:

Dial 2-1-1 or 800-685-0185

Search for resources online at

Email them at

Check out our Community Resource Guides

Each year the Office of People’s Counsel creates Community Resource Guides that provide valuable information on how to get help with your utility bills.

What is in a Community Resource Guide?

Learn about your rights as a residential utility consumer

Find programs that can help you keep your power on

Check out money saving free weatherization options for your home

Look to see if you qualify for telephone discount programs

Get answers to frequently asked questions about utility issues

And more

Click here to check out the resource guide for your area.

Medical Certification Form?

The Medical Certification Form states that the termination of your utility service would aggravate an existing serious illness or would prevent you from using life support equipment. There are extra protections for households that have the Medical Certification Form on file with their utility. To learn more and get the form, click here.

Apply to Weatherization

Repairs and upgrades to your home can make a big difference in reducing energy use and cost throughout the year. Making sure your home is energy efficient can give you a more comfortable home, lower monthly power bills, and improve air quality and your family’s health. You may be eligible for free or low-cost upgrades to your home. Click here to learn more.

Do you still need help with your issue?

Are you confused and don’t know where to begin to get the help that you need? Check out these FAQs or reach out to our office to speak with someone about your situation.

If a household member is the utility account holder and they die, you will need to notify your utility of their passing. You must provide the utility company a copy of the death certificate in order for you to initiate service in your name. You are not responsible for the bill in the deceased person’s name, however if you continue to live in the residence you will be responsible from the date of their passing to and through the time you contact the utility company to initiate service in your name.

If your spouse (or ex-spouse) is the utility account holder and they move out of the residence, you must contact the utility to have the service placed in your name. You will need to provide documentation that the person is no longer in the residence. An example of documentation is an updated lease agreement with the person’s name removed. You are not responsible for the bill in the spouse or ex-spouse name; however, you should provide the utility with all information pertaining to the person so that the utility can contact them about addressing any balances.

You have the right to file a complaint against your utility company. To learn how, click here.

Based upon Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR), the utility company may not refuse you new service for nonpayment of an outstanding bill that is over 7 years old.

If you are having issues with your retail supplier learn more here or call our office for help.

For any other assistance or help, please contact our office at 410-767-8150 or email us or fill out the form on our Contact Us page.