REQUEST TO BE A “PROTECTED CUSTOMER”
If you are struggling to pay your utilities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is suggested that you contact your utility company and request that you be considered a “protected customer,” which will – by law – require your utility company to waive all late charges, reconnection and deposit fees, and protect you from having utilities shut off.
In Pennsylvania, you can be protected from utility shutoffs through March 31, 2021 if:
– You are a residential customer
– Your income levels is at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty level
– You apply for available assistance programs
– You request a payment arrangement
Note – your utility may deny you a payment arrangement, but you are still protected as long as you make that request. It is recommended that you do not accept a payment plan that you cannot afford.
HAVE YOU CONSIDERED LIHEAP?
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps families living on low incomes pay their heating bills in the form of a cash grant. Households in immediate danger of being without heat can also qualify for crisis grants. The cash grant is a one-time payment sent directly to the utility company/fuel provider to be credited on your bill. These grants range from $200 to $1,000 based on household size, income, and fuel type. This is a grant and does not have to be repaid.
To qualify, you must meet income guidelines (available at link below), you don’t have to be on public assistance or have unpaid heating bills, and you can either be a renter or homeowner.