CENTRAL NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — With energy prices on the rise and the winter season in full swing, you might be paying more than usual on your next energy bill. But there are multiple ways you can save this winter, including through National Grid’s Home Energy Assistance Program, known as HEAP.

It’s a program that has some customers in tears of joy.

“She said I didn’t read your email; it’s now Christmas morning. I read your email, and they took care of my entire bill. She goes I can’t, and she started crying,” says Mary Beth Basha, Senior Consumer Advocate for National Grid.

HEAP is easing some of those worried for those who really need it.

“In order to qualify for HEAP, it’s based on the household’s gross monthly income,” says Basha.

Customers below that income level can apply for the program. If approved, you can get up to $426.00 per season. The program opens up every heating season, but with the ongoing pandemic, changes have been made, including additional grants, like the Regular Arrears Supplement grant, known as RAS. This grant helps with back balance.

“It’s been huge. I’ve referred so many people, and they start crying because they’re finally able to get their bill manageable, and then we can go forward with that,” says Basha.

If you don’t qualify for federal assistance, there are still several ways you can save money on your energy bill this winter.

“If they have a real drafty room, take a towel a beach towel and put it at the base to prevent the cold air from coming into the house. They can always use those window insulation kits,” says Basha.

Another way to save money is by turning down your thermostat. If you plan on being out for more than two to three hours, turn it down, and when the sun is out, open your drapes.

Click here for more on home energy-saving tips.

Click here to apply online for regular HEAP.

Click here to apply through your HEAP Local District Contact.

Customers 60 years of age or older can apply through their county’s Office for the Aging.

Click here for more details on the Regular Arrears Supplements grant, known as RAS.