Responsive image

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a utility allowance?

2. How is my utility allowance determined?

3. How is the rate I will be charged for excess electricity consumption determined?

4. When do I have to pay my bill?

5. Where can I find how much utility allowance my household has been allotted?

6. What equipment is included in utility allowance for electricity?

7. I have a disability or medical condition that requires me to use medical or other equipment. Can I get an increase in my utility allowance?

8. If my reasonable accommodation request for an increase in my utility allowance is approved, will the increase cover all of my electronics and equipment that use electricity?

9. What are some examples of medical equipment that will be covered if my request for a reasonable accommodation is approved?

10. Is the cost of operating air conditioning included in my utility allowance?

11. Can I pay my rent first and my excess utility charge later?

12. Is my standalone freezer (such as a deep freezer) included in my utility allowance?

Welcome to Baltimore Housing

Touch a Question to View the Answer!

1. What is a utility allowance?

Answer: A utility allowance is the amount that the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (“HABC”) determines is necessary to cover your reasonable utility costs, based on the guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”). If your utility consumption (usage) exceeds that amount, you will then be charged for the excess usage. Utility allowances may include electricity, gas and water. The utility allowance that has been established for you, which is discussed in these questions, is for electricity. Your unit has an individual meter that will measure how electricity you are using.

Back to top

2. How is my utility allowance determined?

Answer: Utility allowances are calculated by using various factors as directed by HUD guidelines. Some examples of these factors include the unit size and type, whether the unit is an “interior” unit or an end unit, historical weather data, and the number of people in the household.

Back to top

3. How is the rate I will be charged for excess electricity consumption determined?

Answer: The rate you will be charged for excess electricity consumption is the same rate that HABC is charged by its suppliers to provide electricity to your unit. The rate the suppliers charge HABC is determined by several factors including the prevailing market rate for commodity (electricity) supplied, distribution charge, delivery charge and customer charge.

Back to top

4. When do I have to pay my bill?

Answer: HUD regulations provide that payment for excess utility charges will not be due until two weeks after you receive written notice of the charges. However, HABC will provide you more than two weeks. Each month, you will receive a statement showing your utility usage during the period identified in the statement and whether a charge will be assessed. Review the statement for information.

Back to top

5. Where can I find how much utility allowance my household has been allotted?

Answer: The utility statement that you will receive each month will show your utility allowance. You can also find your utility allowance on the Housing Resident Web Interface (HRWI) tool, which is accessed by clicking on the “Compare Your Utility Usage” button. The utility allowance schedule is also posted in the management office for your development or unit.

Back to top

6. What equipment is included in utility allowance for electricity?

Answer: Only the equipment allowed by HUD is included, such as television, computer, radio, clock, cell phone charger, kitchen and bathroom appliances, toys, furnace fan and several others. There are limitations on the number of each type of equipment that may be included in calculating your utility allowance.

Back to top

7. I have a disability or medical condition that requires me to use medical or other equipment. Can I get an increase in my utility allowance?

Answer: You may make a reasonable accommodation request for an increase in your utility allowance. For information on the reasonable accommodation process, click here.

Back to top

8. If my reasonable accommodation request for an increase in my utility allowance is approved, will the increase cover all of my electronics and equipment that use electricity?

Answer: No – the increase in your utility allowance will only cover the medical or other equipment that you use to address your disability. If you have other electronics or electrical devices, such as televisions, computers and/or stereos, the increase in the utility allowance will not cover the use of these items.

Back to top

9. What are some examples of medical equipment that will be covered if my request for a reasonable accommodation is approved?

Examples of medical equipment include electric wheelchairs, electric scooters, electric hospital beds, CPAP machines and nebulizers. These items are just examples. You may make a reasonable accommodation for an increase in your utility allowance if you have the listed items or other medical equipment that uses electricity that is not on this list to address your disability.

Back to top

10. Is the cost of operating air conditioning included in my utility allowance?

Answer: No. If you have a disability and you use air conditioning to address your disability, you may make a reasonable accommodation request for an increase in your utility allowance for the use of the air conditioning. You will be required to submit disability verification from your healthcare provider verifying that you have a disability and that you need to use the air conditioning to address the disability.

Back to top

11. Can I pay my rent first and my excess utility charge later?

Answer: You should make all payments due under your lease, such as an excess utility charge, when they are due.

Back to top

12. Is my standalone freezer (such as a deep freezer) included in my utility allowance?

Answer: No. A standalone freezer is not included in your utility allowance.

Back to top

Swipe up or down to scroll content