Utility Assistance Programs
Contact Your Utility for Assistance
If you live in a low-income household or are undergoing a hardship, you may qualify for support in paying utility bills. Most electric, gas, water, phone and internet companies offer assistance programs. Review the types of programs below and contact your utility to see what is available for your household.
Electricity and Natural Gas Assistance
Any residential customers may contact their electric or natural gas company to request budget billing. Budget billing means each monthly bill will be the same amount. The company may adjust the bill up to four times a year, up or down, depending on your usage.
Customer Assistance Programs (CAPs) are designed to help low-income residential customers maintain utility service. CAPs can help lower your monthly utility bill, and may also reduce or remove the amount you already owe. The company works with you to determine what you can pay based on your household income.
The CARES program provides referral service for customers experiencing temporary hardships, such as family emergencies, divorce, unemployment or medical emergencies. CARES may provide support, direction and resources to help customers address their hardship situations and make it easier to pay their utility bills.
LIURP helps eligible low-income residential customers lower the amount of electricity or natural gas used each month. The company may install energy saving features in your home to help reduce bills. A smaller bill means you'll be able to cover more of your bill.
Utility company hardship funds provide grants to pay utility bills. These funds offer help to customers who "fall through the cracks" of other financial assistance programs. They can also be used for those who still need help after other resources have been used. The hardship funds make payments directly to the utility company on behalf of the customer.
Energy Assistance Resources
PA Energy Consumer Bill of Rights
Residential energy customers in Pennsylvania have rights to accessing to utility assistance programs.
Energy Assistance Programs
Get information on where support is available if you need help with your energy bills.
Declaración de Derechos del Consumidor de Energía de Pennsylvania
Los clientes de energía residencial en Pennsylvania tienen derechos de acceso a programas de asistencia de servicios públicos.
Programas de Asistencia Energética
Obtenga información sobre dónde está disponible el apoyo si necesita ayuda con sus facturas de energía.
Medical Certificate Guidance
The Medical Certificate Guidance provides information for customers and medical professionals regarding submitting medical certificates to public utilities to avoid termination of service or to restore service.
Standard Medical Certificate Form
The Standard Medical Certificate Form may be used as a tool to help simplify the medical certificate process for customers, medical professionals, and public utilities.
Guía de Certificados Médicos
La Guía de certificados médicos proporciona información para clientes y profesionales médicos sobre la presentación de certificados médicos a los servicios públicos para evitar la terminación del servicio o restablecer el servicio.
Formulario de Certificado Médico
El formulario de certificado médico estándar se puede utilizar como una herramienta para ayudar a simplificar el proceso de certificado médico para clientes, profesionales médicos y empresas de servicios públicos.
Utility Assistance Qualifications
Customers must meet certain income limits to qualify for CAP, CARES, LIURP and Hardship Funds. Customers may need to make a payment arrangement with the company.
Refer to the chart below for the latest income levels customers must meet for CAP. If your household's monthly income is less than these limits, call your local utility company to see if you qualify.
2023 Household Size Monthly Income - 150% Federal Poverty Income Guidelines
The following income levels for CAP are effective as of January 2023.
1 person $1,823
2 persons $2,465
3 persons $3,108
4 persons $3,750
5 persons $4,393
6 persons $5,035
7 persons $5,678
8 persons $6,320
For each additional person in the household, add $643.
Note: The income levels may be slightly higher for LIURP, CARES and Hardship Funds. Income levels may also be higher for People's Natural Gas CAP.
Federal Energy Assistance Programs
LIHEAP is the federal program that provides financial assistance to needy households for home energy bills. In Pennsylvania, the Department of Human Services (DHS) administers the LIHEAP program. The LIHEAP program provides both cash and crisis benefits to low-income households. Cash benefits help low-income customers pay for their home energy needs, while crisis payments may help resolve emergency home energy situations.
Your household income must be within certain limits to qualify. These limits are listed on the DHS website.
The LIHEAP Application Form is located on the DHS website. For more information, contact the LIHEAP hotline at 866-857-7095.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps low-income households pay some energy costs associated with heating your home. In response to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Unites States Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act, in part, has provided additional funding for LIHEAP to aid households that have been negatively financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to get this much needed assistance to as many households as possible, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) has created the LIHEAP Recovery Crisis Program. If your household is experiencing a heating emergency, such as being out of fuel or having a past due balance that may result in your electricity or natural gas being shut off, LIHEAP may be able to help. For more information on this special Recovery Crisis Program, visit the DHS website.
Your household income must be within certain limits to qualify. These limits are listed on Department of Human Services website at Energy Assistance - General Information.
For more information on LIHEAP and an application for, visit the Department of Human Services' website: LIHEAP Application Form.
Partners for Warmth - LIHEAP Outreach for customers of Peoples Natural Gas, Columbia Gas of PA, Equitable Gas and Peoples TWP.
Telephone and Internet Service Assistance Programs
Telephone and broadband internet assistance programs are available for consumers with limited incomes. Programs can help you keep service connected, reduce monthly bills, help pay connection fees and avoid shutoffs. Eligibility is determined based on your income or participation in other assistance programs. Each company and program has different benefits and restrictions. Some programs have restrictions on the optional services available to participants. Contact your telephone or internet company to see if you qualify for their assistance program.
The Lifeline Program is a government program that helps low-income consumers with a discount on monthly service for:
- Voice (telephone)
- Broadband internet access service (internet service)
- Combination of telephone and internet service
Lifeline works with both landline and wireless providers. The programs give consumers the opportunities and security that phone and internet service provides, such as connecting to jobs, family, health care, schools, and 911 emergency services.
You may qualify for Lifeline Assistance based on income (at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines) or if you participate in any of the following programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
Affordable Connectivity Program Funding Letter to PA Congressional Delegation - Letter sent by the PUC Commissioners to members of the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation regarding the Affordable Connectivity Program. Dated September 7, 2023.
Lifeline Across America Website - This FCC website provides information and resources about federal and state Lifeline programs.
Lifeline Eligibility – This website by Universal Service Administrative Company explains if you qualify for the program.
Wireless Lifeline Providers - This chart lists the wireless telephone companies that provide Lifeline discounts in Pennsylvania through the federal Lifeline program. The chart describes and highlights each wireless company's service plan options.
Landline Lifeline Providers - This list contains company phone numbers and web addresses for the companies, and the counties served.
Lifeline Providers by County - This list shows all of the providers in each county.
Customer Participation - Lifeline and Link-Up information for all participating telephone companies in 2021 and 2022.
Emergency Broadband Benefit for PA Consumers - Factsheet explaining the FCC's recently established the Emergency Broadband Benefit program.
FCC's Notice of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program - As of May 12, 2021, eligible households will be able to enroll in the Program to receive a monthly discount off the cost of broadband service from an approved provider. Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider or by visiting https://getemergencybroadband.org.
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