United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas and Connecticut Natural Gas \u2014 the Connecticut operating companies of AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) \u2014 are offering guidance to help state residents navigate the process for applying for Energy Assistance and maintaining service during the cold weather months. The companies have released two new videos to help customers understand the process to qualify for Energy Assistance and Winter Protection. Qualifying for Energy Assistance is a necessary first step to become eligible for certain programs the companies offer to help customers pay their bills and maintain their service. The videos are available on YouTube and are being distributed to Connecticut Community Action Agencies, which oversee distribution of Energy Assistance dollars and can work with customers to determine their eligibility for the program. \u201cWe understand how important it is for customers and their families to be able to maintain reliable electric and gas service, particularly during the winter months,\u201d said Bill Reis, Vice President of Customer Care for the energy companies. \u201cThat\u2019s why we offer a variety of programs to help customers pay their bills, avoid unexpected high bills, and maintain gas and electric service.\u201d Customers seeking assistance should start by calling their local Community Action Agency directly, or by calling Infoline at 211 to find the Connecticut Community Action Agency that serves their town or city. These organizations can determine whether customers meet income and other criteria to be eligible for Energy Assistance. Once eligibility is confirmed, customers can contact their energy company to enroll in assistance programs, such as matching payment plans. Winter service protection, which prevents shut-off during the cold weather months, is available from Nov. 1 through May 1. It is available for electric and gas heating customers who qualify for Energy Assistance, and for some electric customers who qualify for Energy Assistance or meet certain other criteria. Those customers who don\u2019t meet the eligibility criteria for Energy Assistance should contact their energy company to learn about other options available to them, such as payment arrangements and budget billing, which averages bill payments across the year so they can avoid high bills during heating months. AVANGRID\u2019s energy companies also offer programs that can help customers reduce energy costs and usage.