Spire expanding DollarHelp program funding, eligibility

Nov. 24—Spire is expanding a program that assists customers who need help paying natural gas bills.

The company is increasing funding and customer eligibility for its DollarHelp program, which was created in 1982. In addition to funding from the company, Spire customers can donate $1 or more per month to the program, which helps those who struggle to pay their bills.

Deborah Banks, Spire's managing director of customer success, said company leaders felt it was important to expand the program with so many people in need.

"DollarHelp is a program that we have at Spire and it's intended to help customers on a limited income that may need assistance paying their gas bills," Banks said. "The program is set up so that Spire gives donations and our customers can actually give donations to the program, so it's really all collected and then managed by the United Way. We have a really great partnership with them."

According to a press release, Spire is increasing the maximum total annual amount of help available for eligible customers from $700 to $1,000 amid inflation and rising costs.

The energy assistance is offered to consumers whose household income is 300% of the federal poverty level or less. This is an increase from the previous level of 200% in Missouri.

Banks said Spire officials hope that by expanding the program more people will be able to receive the help that they need.

"What we are hoping that we're going to accomplish with this and the whole purpose with expanding the guidelines is that customers today qualify for federal funds, and that's through the Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)," she said. "Those guidelines sort of limit customers from receiving assistance, and we're expanding (beyond) the federal poverty level up to 300% for individual households so customers that may not qualify for federal or state funding can now get assistance through DollarHelp if they're struggling to make ends meet with all of the rising costs, inflation and so forth like that."

Spire has also guaranteed $100,000 on top of its previously established pledge amount in support of the program.

Those interested in the program can find information at spireenergy.com/assistance.

Daniel Slaybaugh can be reached at daniel.slaybaugh@newspressnow.com.