Residential Arrearage Management Program (RAMP)
The Berkshire Gas Company’s “Residential Arrearage Management Program” (RAMP) provides financial assistance to eligible low-income residential customers with active accounts that are past due.
If you are experiencing a financial hardship in which your household income is within sixty percent (60%) of the State Median Income (SMI) guideline, you may be eligible for The Berkshire Gas Company, Residential Arrearage Management Program (RAMP).
The RAMP program forgives past due bills for qualified low income residential customers, that have active accounts that are three hundred ($300) dollars and sixty (60) days or more past due. Forgiveness of the past due balance is extended “onetime” only. Forgiveness credits are applied over time, on a monthly basis, and conditional upon a monthly customer payment of the current charges over a minimum twelve (12) month payment agreement. Program participants receive forgiveness credits to their past due account once all program requirements have been met. (Some restrictions may apply.)
The following eligibility guidelines must be met to qualify for the Residential Arrearage Management Program (RAMP):
- Must have an active natural gas account and currently be receiving natural gas service
- Must have outstanding bills in arrears of sixty (60) days or more, with a minimum of three hundred ($300.00) dollars in arrears.
- The customer of record must reside at the location where the gas service is provided.
- The combined gross annual household income must fall within the Income Eligibility Guideline for the household size.
- The gas service account cannot be billed in the name of the landlord for a tenant’s residence (utilities included in rent)
- The customer can apply for and participate in RAMP one time only.
How To Apply
Customers approved for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) are income eligible and are automatically reviewed by Berkshire Gas to determine if the account meets the remaining RAMP Program requirements.
November 1 to April 30: Customers may apply for LIHEAP (fuel assistance) at their local community action agency:
- Berkshire Community Action Council (BCAC)
- Community Action of the Franklin, Hampshire and North Quabbin Regions
May 1 to October 31: Customers must submit proof that they are a recipient of a state means tested assistance program.
RAMP Forgiveness Benefit Amount
The Residential Arrearage Management Program (RAMP) program will provide qualified low income residential heating and non-heating customers one-hundred (100%) forgiveness of their full arrearage balances. The arrearage forgiveness benefit amount will have a maximum forgiveness credit of up to three thousand dollars ($3,000) per year and a maximum monthly forgiveness credit of two-hundred fifty dollars ($250) per month that may be credited over the term of the plan. The length (term) of the payment plan is determined by the total arrearage amount to be forgiven based on the annual cap amount (e.g., a customer with a $6,000 arrearage will have a two-year payment plan term based on the maximum annual forgiveness of $3,000 per year).
Customers approved for the RAMP must:
1) Enter into a minimum twelve (12) month payment plan which includes the future projected gas bills for the term of the payment plan
- To avoid falling back into arrears, the future bills are projected over the term of the plan and calculated into a monthly payment, to ensure the balance owed at the start of RAMP and gas to be used over the length of payment plan are paid in full by the end.
- The monthly payment can/will be recalculated and adjusted based on actual consumption to ensure the payment amount is sufficient to prevent an arrearage at the end of the program.
2) Pay the monthly payment amount agreed to in order to receive the monthly RAMP forgiveness credit.
3) Apply for, and agree to participate in, all other financial assistance programs available (e.g., fuel assistance, weatherization/conservation, etc.).
- Any financial assistance approved and pending (e.g., fuel assistance) will be factored into the determination of the RAMP benefit and the customer’s monthly payment amount on the RAMP payment plan (recalculations may be done if fuel assistance is approved after RAMP is established).
- The RAMP benefit amount will not be adjusted regardless of changes to the billing account balance or your financial status.
- Payments returned by the bank due to non-sufficient funds will result in the reversal of that month’s Residential Arrearage Management Program (RAMP) credit amount.
- Failure to pay monthly amount agreed to will result in termination of the payment agreement. Any remaining RAMP benefit will be forfeited. RAMP payment plan may be reinstated if all missed payments are made.