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).
LIHEAP grants are now available, and because of expected Federal funding cuts, significantly less money could be available to help low-and fixed-income customers pay their bills. Currently, $133 million is available to help Pennsylvania customers compared to $286 million last season.
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 about 42,000 PECO customers with more than 111,000 grants totaling $23.4 million in assistance.
“With the significant reduction in funding to support LIHEAP this year, it is essential our customers submit their applications now, before funding runs out,” said Mark Alden, vice president of Customer Operations for PECO. “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 $300 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 $33,525 can qualify for help.
To be eligible, annual household income cannot exceed 150 percent of the Federal poverty income guidelines, or:
- $16,335 – One person household
- $22,065 – Two person household
- $27,795 – Three person household
- $33,525 – Four person household
- $39,255 – Five person household
For larger households, the guidelines increase by $5,730 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 $1000 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. Find ways to save energy and money and to take the PECO Smart Home e-Audit, visit www.PECO.com/SmartIdeas.