What to do When You Can't Pay a BGE Turn-off Notice
Have you or someone you know recently received a BGE turn-off notice? It can be scary and alarming to receive one of these notices, especially during a time when you don't have the money to take care of the turn-off amount before the turn-off date. Below we've outlined a few steps to take if you ever receive a turn-off notice and are unable to pay your bill.
1. The immediate first step is to request a turn-off notice extension. BGE grants this to all customers. You can request this extension online or by calling 1-800-685-0123. This extension is usually about two weeks long.
2. If you unable still unable to pay the pay after the turn-off notice extension, request a personal extension. For this extension, it's likely that you will need to speak to a customer service representative. This extension can add an additional 1-2 weeks of time to take care of the balance due.
3. Set up a personal payment plan. You can set up a personal payment plan online. To qualify for a payment arrangement you must:
- have an active residential account (service is not yet turned off)
- have an account balance of no more than $5000
- not have any currently active payment arrangements
- have not defaulted on a payment arrangement in the last 18 months
- make a down payment within five (5) business days
- down payment amounts are 50%, 33% or 25% of the total balance
4. Reduce household expenses to save money for your BGE bill. One way to reduce these expenses is Parts of Peace's Families Matter - Emergency Assistance program. This program provides families with household necessities for one month in cases of emergency. The program provides non-perishable foods, fresh produce, personal hygiene items and household cleaning supplies. These items are provided to reduce household expenses so families can focus on expenses that matter, like BGE. See the bottom of this article to apply for assistance today!
5. Contact local churches and places of worship, especially if you belong to a church or place of worship. Churches are great resources for supporting community members in need. Be sure to present the turn-off notice.
6. Call 2-1-1. 2-1-1 is Maryland's human resources hotline. Call 2-1-1 and see what types of services you may be eligible for. Mention your zip code to confirm your eligible for certain services and service providers.
7. Contact The Office of Home Energy Programs. Certain restrictions and funding qualifications apply. Visit them online or call 410-396-5555.
8. Plan for next time! Many of the resources listed above are one-time only and it's unlikely you will be able to receive them more than once a year. It's important to plan and budget more carefully in the future to avoid additional turn-off notices.
For additional help with energy assistance, or to learn more about budgeting or Parts of Peace's programs for individuals and families, please visit our website - www.partsofpeace.org or call our community message hotline: 443-228-8859