PHILADELPHIA--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--PECO customers must act now to take advantage of limited funding available this heating season for Pennsylvania through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
“With a reduction in funding to support LIHEAP this year, it is essential our customers submit their applications now, before the limited funding runs out”
LIHEAP grants are now available, and because of potential reduced funding this season, less money could be available to help low-and fixed-income customers pay their bills. Currently $190 million is available to help Pennsylvania customers.
LIHEAP is a federal program that provides assistance to individuals who are having trouble paying their electric, natural gas or other energy bills. Homeowners, renters, roomers and subsidized housing tenants may be eligible. Last year, LIHEAP provided more than $14.4 million in grant assistance for PECO customers.
“With a reduction in funding to support LIHEAP this year, it is essential our customers submit their applications now, before the limited funding runs out,” said Patricia King, PECO’s manager of Universal Services. “We are reaching out to customers through community forums, proactive calls, direct mail and advertising to ensure eligible customers know help is available.”
The LIHEAP program provides cash grants, up to $1,000 per customer, through a direct payment to a vendor, such as a utility like PECO. LIHEAP also has money allocated for emergencies including payments to reinstate service that has been shut off for non-payment, fuel payments, and repairing leaking pipes and broken furnaces. The maximum grant funding for emergencies like these is $500 per customer.
Grants are based on household size and income, type of fuel used and county of residence – and a family of four with an annual household income of $35,525 can qualify for help. To be eligible, annual household income cannot exceed 150 percent of the Federal poverty income guidelines, or:
- $17,235 One person household
- $23,265 Two person household
- $29,295 Three person household
- $35,325 Four person household
For larger households, the guidelines increase by $6,030 for each additional person.
For more information, help in filling out the application, or questions, customers can call 1-800-34 HELP4 or visit www.peco.com/help.
PECO manages the largest and most comprehensive Universal Services program in the state. In addition to LIHEAP, PECO has many other programs to help customers manage their energy costs and save money. Other assistance programs include:
- The Customer Assistance Program (CAP): A discounted rate for low-income customers.
- The Matching Energy Assistance Fund (MEAF): A program funded by voluntary contributions of citizens and matched dollar for dollar by PECO for up to $1,000 in total assistance for those who qualify.
- Low Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP): A program that provides year round conservation and weatherization assistance for qualified households.
- Customer Assistance and Referral Evaluation Services (CARES): A referral and information service designed to assist customers who have temporary personal or financial hardships that prevent the payment of their utility bill.
PECO customers who are not eligible for low-and fixed-income assistance but are having trouble managing their energy costs should also consider taking advantage of other programs including budget billing. Budget billing makes short-term fluctuation in monthly bills much easier to handle by dividing annual energy costs evenly throughout the year.
All customers also can save money on their monthly energy bills by using energy as efficiently as possible. To find low-cost and no-cost ways to save energy and money and to take the PECO Smart Home e-Audit, visit www.PECO.com/SmartIdeas.
Based in Philadelphia, PECO is an electric and natural gas utility subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC). PECO serves 1.6 million electric and 497,000 natural gas customers in southeastern Pennsylvania and employs about 2,400 people in the region. PECO delivered 76.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 37.5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2012. Founded in 1881, PECO is one of the Greater Philadelphia Region's most active corporate citizens, providing leadership, volunteer and financial support to numerous arts and culture, education, environmental, economic development and community programs and organizations.