Managing Your Utility Bills

You can get help with your energy costs:

FEDERAL AND STATE PROGRAMS

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

LIHEAP can provide you with two kinds of financial assistance if you qualify for help: Cash grants and Crisis grants. Cash grants can help you pay for energy to heat your home or apartment in the winter. Crisis grants can help you deal with emergencies related to weather or energy supply problems.

LIHEAP can also provide emergency heating system repair and conservation assistance. LIHEAP is a federally funded program administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW).

Eligible families can receive financial assistance from any or all of LIHEAP’s components to help heat their residence. If you have questions about LIHEAP, you can contact PULP, DPW, your local county assistance office, or your utility company.  Additional details about the current year’s LIHEAP program can be found in PULP’s LIHEAP Advocate’s Manual.

Weatherization Assistance Program

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) can help low-income families reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. If you are eligible for the program, some of the services you might receive include installation of insulation, heating system replacements, and education on how to reduce energy waste.

The Weatherization Assistance Program is funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) but run by the individual states. In Pennsylvania, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) administers the program. You can learn more about Weatherization Assistance through the DCED.

Winter Shut-off Protection

As a utility customer, you are responsible for paying your bills and should make every effort to do so. However, if you are unable to pay your bill, there are protections from termination for qualified low-income families during the winter moratorium: December 1 – March 31. Your household income must be at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines. (Alternate rules, explained below, apply if you are a customer of PGW – Philadelphia Gas Works.) It is a good idea to alert your utility company if you are within these guidelines. If you receive a termination notice and you are within the income guidelines, you should notify your utility company immediately.

If you are a customer of PGW, your utility service may not be terminated during the winter months if your income level falls below 150% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines. If your income is between 150% and 250% of the guidelines, you will not be shut-off in the winter if the household includes anyone 65 years of age or older or 12 years of age or younger; or if you have obtained a medical certification; or if you have paid PGW an amount equal to at least 15% of your monthly household income for each of the last two months.

UTILITY PROGRAMS

Most large Pennsylvania utility companies are required by law to have programs to help low-income customers keep their utility service. There are several different kinds of programs available to help you. Your utility company may offer one or more of these programs.  Click here to find out additional information