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27 Mar 2011

LIHEAP deadline extended — more time available to help PECO Customers pay their energy bills

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March 27, 2011 Category: Local Posted by:

To help customers deal with tough economic conditions, the deadline to apply for the Federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has been extended to April 15. With more than $85 million still available in LIHEAP assistance PECO customers should apply now before funds run out.


With the deadline to apply quickly approaching and with assistance available only until funds run out, PECO customers are encouraged to apply for their LIHEAP grant immediately by calling 1-800-34-HELP-4, visiting, or by visiting PECO’s District Office at 2301 Market Street in Philadelphia .


So far this season more than $11 million in assistance has helped about 25,000 PECO electric and natural gas customers pay their bills.


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, and subsidized housing tenants may be eligible. Last year, LIHEAP helped PECO customers by providing more than 140,000 grants to 41,379 customers for more than $21 million.


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. The maximum crisis grant this year is $400 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 $35,280 can qualify for help. To be eligible, annual household income cannot exceed 160 percent of the Federal poverty income guidelines, or:


$17,328 one-person household


$23,312 two-person household


$29,296 three-person household


$35,280 four-person household


$41,264 five-person household


For larger households, the guidelines increase by $5,984 for each additional person.


PECO is reaching out to customers through community forums, proactive calls to eligible households, direct mail and advertising to ensure eligible customers know help is available and take advantage of these programs.


Service termination for seriously delinquent customers will begin on April 1. Shutting off service is always our last resort. However, in fairness to customers who do pay their bills, termination is sometimes the only way to ensure payment from those who have the ability to pay but do not. By terminating customers who have the ability to pay, the company can better target and assist those customers who truly are struggling.


The most important action a customer can take to avoid termination is to contact the company immediately when they become aware that they will not be able to make their scheduled payment. The most options are available for customers before an account becomes seriously or chronically past due. Customers potentially facing termination should call 1-888-480-1533 immediately.

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