OPC Alert Maryland – Utility Asst., Frozen Pipes and Legs Representation

Prevent frozen pipes: As we continue to move into winter months, it is important to protect your pipes from freezing temperatures. The Red Cross has created some tips on how to prevent water pipes from freezing and what to do if they do freeze.

DHS call center extends hours: Office of People’s Counsel (OPC) strongly encourages anyone who may be eligible for the Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP) to apply now and not wait for a turn-off notice.

There are a few ways you can apply:

1)      Go online and apply

2)     Call the DHS call center at 1-800-332-6347 and request an application be mailed to you. The call center has recently extended their hours.

         Monday-Friday 8AM-8PM and Saturday 9AM-4PM.

3)     Contact your local OHEP office to request an application be mailed to you. Some offices will allow clients to schedule an appointment or come to           the office to pick up an application. Call your local office for information on available services.

Fuel Fund of Maryland: The Fuel Fund of Maryland assists income eligible BGE customers with paying their utility bills after they complete OHEP. They have recently instituted some new rules that impact process and eligibility to effectively respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

1.      Waived the need for a turn off notice through 6/30/2021.

2.      Waived the need for seniors (age 60+) to complete OHEP before getting assistance from the Fuel Fund of Maryland through 6/30/2021. They will             mail the consumer an OHEP application as needed.

If someone is struggling with a utility bill, OPC encourages people to call their utility company and request a 12-month payment plan. For those that are OHEP certified, they are eligible for up to a 24-month payment plan.

Legal Representation: The Courtroom Advocacy Project (CAP) through the Probono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC) provides free same-day representation for Failure to Pay Rent cases in Rent Court in Baltimore City as well as for some Consumer dockets in Baltimore City District Court and PG County District Court.  People can also contact PBRC for legal information and referrals related to evictions and illegal lockouts, repairs and escrow accounts, utility bill disputes and whether and how to attend scheduled court hearings. To connect with the CAP Team call the hotline at 443-703-3053. For more information about CAP or to schedule a presentation contact Project Director, Katie Davis at kdavis@probonomd.orgSee attached for more PBRC programs.

For more information, please visit our website.

Be well.

Brandi Nieland, LCSW
Director of Consumer Assistance
Maryland Office of People’s Counsel
6 St.Paul Street, Suite 2102
Baltimore, MD 21202

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