PITTSBURGH – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) will kick off its statewide annual PA “Be Utility Wise” events on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at The Meadows Casino Conference Center, 210 Racetrack Rd., Washington, PA. The outreach events will continue across Pennsylvania through October and November.
The theme for this year’s campaign is “Who to Turn To” – focusing on increasing community awareness of essential utility assistance programs.
“There are many resources available to help consumers in need, but many aren’t aware of them or don’t know how to access them,” said PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown. “We want Pennsylvanians who may be struggling to heat their homes or pay their utility bills to know that there are customer assistance programs available to help them.”
According to data compiled by the PUC, Pennsylvania utilities spent nearly $459 million on various customer assistance programs last year, not counting private assistance or the federal Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Every year, these programs helped reduce the monthly bills for more than 280,000 electric customers and over 160,000 natural gas customers across the state – and enrollment and annual spending for these programs has increased dramatically over the past decade.
Additionally, PUC-required assistance services also support programs to help low-income customers modernize their heating systems and reduce their energy consumption – making current and future utility bills more affordable. Utilities, and their customers, also contribute several million dollars per year in hardship funds, assisting thousands of in-need families.
In addition to networking opportunities, the free “train-the-trainer” event will feature presentations from state agencies, local utility companies and other financial assistance programs in order to share ideas and services. Presenters will discuss financial assistance programs for utility customers, career tools for job seekers, energy conservation and weatherization, protecting against utility scams and more.
This year’s Pittsburgh participants include the PUC, Columbia Gas of PA Inc., First Energy, Peoples Gas Co., Pennsylvanian American Water, Duquesne Light, Fayette County Community Action Agency Inc., Oakland Planning and Development Corporation, Northside Common Ministries, Advantage Credit Counseling Service Inc., Dollar Energy Fund, Conservation Consultants Inc., Department of Human Services, and Comcast.
The PUC’s Be Utility Wise events include:
Pittsburgh Area – Sept. 28, 2016, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The Meadows Casino Conference Center
210 Racetrack Rd.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton – Oct. 20, 2016, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
1280 Highway 315
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
Johnstown – Oct. 28, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
450 Schoolhouse Rd.
Johnstown, PA 15904
Berks County – Oct. 31, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Double Tree by Hilton
701 Penn Street
Reading, PA 19601
Harrisburg – Nov. 15, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Red Lion Inn
4751 Lindle Rd.
Harrisburg PA 17111
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
For recent news releases and video of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.pa.gov. Follow the PUC on Twitter – @PA_PUC for all things utility. “Like” Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Facebook for easy access to information on utility issues.
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