WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — Cities in Maryland are not allowed to shut off electrical service for residents from November 1 until March 31. Seasonal termination protection is in place to avoid anyone being left without heat during the colder months.

As we approach this year’s deadline, the City of Hagerstown is making sure residents are aware of this date.

“What we’re attempting to do at this point is to reach those behind on their electric bills and let them know that there is recourse for them,” Communications Officer Wes Decker said.

The City of Hagerstown suggested that those who need help visit the community action council for assistance.

“Our lobby has been packed for the last couple of days,” the Director of the Energy Program Sherva Joseph said. “All the applications are coming in now either have a shutoff notice or they already got terminated, so we’re going to be very busy the next couple of weeks.”

Sherva Joseph and Teresa Searcy work with residents who come in looking for electric bill assistance. They advised people to ensure they have all the needed paperwork to receive assistance.

“They need to bring in paperwork, we need to do all of the background research, we have to look at the income and we sometimes have to get landlord verification so it can take a while so if they come in prepared with all of that information, it can take a day or two,” Joseph explained.

“The emergency rental assistance program also does cover energy assistance if they are not eligible for our program here at CAC,” Searcy explained. “We can also cover that type of assistance under the era program.”

For residents living outside of city limits, Potomac Edison will also be returning to electric terminations. It offers payment plans and programs in order for customers to get caught up.