Cooler fall temperatures have given some area residents reprieve from pricey utility bills, but the frigid winter months are not far off.

During those months, utility providers and local nonprofits offer heating assistance to local low-income families.

Ohio Valley Opportunities, OVO, will be accepting applications from Jefferson, Jennings and Scott county residents for its heating season program. The assistance includes a one-time payment during winter months to qualified households available through the Energy Assistance Program.

To qualify for OVO assistance, a family of four could make no more than $35,325 a year or $2,943.75 a month.

Residents need to include proof of income, a gas or electric bill, landlord affidavit or proof of home ownership on their applications.

Residents can call (877) 782-5882 or (812) 265-5882 to set up an appointment, which is required. Because of staffing restrictions, until further notice, all OVO appointments will be schedule for the Madison office, 425 Walnut St.

Downloadable forms can be found at OVO's website: www.ovoinc.org/energy-assistance.php.

Local utility provider Vectren Corp. also has an income-eligible program called Share the Warmth, which is a private foundation that draws from public donations.

The program works with homeowners through a trained energy auditor to help weatherize homes to decrease energy usage and offer long-term conservation practices. Vectren matches all public donations up to an annual amount of $200,000 each year. Share the Warmth funds are distributed annually to the Indiana and Ohio Low Income Weatherization Assistance Programs.

Common weatherization measures include: Insulating walls and attics, repairing and tuning up furnace or installing a new unit, weather-stripping doors and caulking windows, insulating water heaters, pipes and hot-air ducts or repairing broken windows or installing replacement windows.

Those who wish to donate should call 1-888-348-1955. If residents need assistance they can access the "Need help" tab on the Share the Warmth website, www.sharethewarmthinc.com.

Duke Energy's winter assistance program for Indiana residents is called Helping Hand, and is funded by the company shareholders, employees and customers . Helping Hand Program can provide assistance, up to $300 toward an electric bill, if the local Energy Assistance Program agency determines the household is eligible.

Duke Energy Indiana partners with the Indiana Community Action Association and the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority's Energy Assistance Program, which distributes the company's assistance funds.

Those interested in the program can find out more about the program at www.duke-energy.com/indiana/special-assistance/helping-hand.asp or by calling 1-800-521-2232.

Donations for Duke's program can be addressed to Helping Hand, at 139 E. Fourth St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.