The high cost of heating one’s home in the winter is a tremendous burden on Philadelphia’s low-income families. Being without heat in the middle of winter is a crisis, and families will do whatever they can to keep warm, including running a cooking stove to heat the house.
Low-income residents access emergency utility assistance through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Income eligibility levels are higher for LIHEAP than for TANF, so many families do not realize that they may qualify for the program. For families facing a heating utility shut off who have already accessed LIHEAP can apply for additional help from the Utility Emergency Services Fund (UESF).
In addition to taking advantage of LIHEAP grants to provide one-time relief from high energy bills, low-income families can also lower their bills throughout the year by enrolling utility budget programs.
- Philadelphia Energy Company (PECO)
- Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW)
- Philadelphia Water Department (PWD)
Pennsylvania will begin accepting LIHEAP applications on November 1, 2011. Funding for LIHEAP and other energy assistance programs is at risk during deficit reduction negotiations.