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Heating costs for older homes, mobile homes, and energy-inefficient apartment rentals can cause a household‘s energy bill to increase significantly during the winter months. To assist with winter heating bills HRDC administers the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) which provides heat bill supplements to more than 1,000 households annually. Heat bill assistance benefits are paid to the heat vendor or to the customer if they supply their own wood or their heating costs are included in their rent. HRDC also administers Energy Share of Montana (ESOM) which provides year-round energy emergency assistance to prevent utility disconnection and assists with hot water heater or furnace repairs.
Qualifying households may also receive free home weatherization. Weatherization includes a comprehensive energy audit focusing on whole house ventilation, energy savings, conservation education, and health and safety. Renters or homeowners may receive insulation, infiltration remediation, combustion appliance testing and tuning, energy conservation education, and measures to improve home safety and efficiency. Energy measures installed are based on the projected savings to investment ratio for the energy retrofit, which must pay for itself within the lifetime of the energy saving measure. This helps more than 100 households annually to reduce their overall heating costs in perpetuity.