Utilities & Internet


Several cities, including Providence and Newport, are launching community electric purchasing programs.

Last-reviewed: 12pm, May 22, 2023

Key Resources:

Electric & Gas

The Basics

The Breakdown

  • LIHEAP, the winter heating assistance program season, opened October 1, 2022. Check with community action programs or visit the George Wiley Center on Wednesday to apply or renew LIHEAP.
  • The Low-Income Water Assistance Programs offers a one-time grant to help people with their water or sewer bills.
    • This is a temporary program with funds expected to run out in 2023.
    • Eligibility requirements here.
  • Utility shut-off protections are available. Contact Rhode Island Energy or a local Community Action Program to learn more about protections.
  • For advocacy assistance or more information, visit the George Wiley Center. The George Wiley Center hosts weekly “know your utility rights” meetings on Wednesday at 6:30pm. More information here.
  • RI has $23 million dollars to fund a Heat Pump Incentive program. The program is aimed at meeting emission reduction goals by offering incentives to homeowners to install heat pumps. Additional details forthcoming. Read more about the program here.

Telephone and Internet

The Basics

  • The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) offers a discount for broadband services for eligible customers.
  • The Lifeline Support is a federal program that can lower the monthly cost of phone or internet service.

The Breakdown

  • Cell phone carriers shut down 3G networks as part of a transition to 4G LTE and 5G networks. For additional information about the timeline and how to upgrade affected devices, visit the FCC website.
  • The ACP offers a $30/monthly discount for eligible households. The ACP broadens income and participation eligibility. More information here.
  • Lifeline offers support to eligible phone or Internet consumers up to $9.25/month. Read more here.
  • The FCC has taken action to raise awareness about the Nationwide Lifeline Program for affordable telephone or internet service, a benefit for which many consumers may be newly eligible during the pandemic.


  • The National Digital Inclusion Alliance also has this nationwide resource list for free and low-cost internet plans.
  • EveryoneOn has a tool to search for low-cost internet service and computers in areas near you.
  • The FCC has an affordable connectivity program. MaxSip is one of their programs.

The Bottom Line

  • Care teams can help individuals and families maintain their phone and utilities by keeping them updated about assistance programs.