Reading, PA, (March 17, 2006) – The Pennsylvania Department of Welfare has extended the seasonal deadline for applications to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) from March 23 until April 14, 2006. In addition, the maximum “crisis” grant has been increased from $300 to $600.
UGI is contacting customers who received a LIHEAP crisis grant earlier this winter and informing them that they can apply for additional funds if they find themselves in another home heating emergency. So far this winter 1,342 UGI gas and electric customers have received “crisis” grants through LIHEAP and 11,282 UGI customers have received “cash” grants from the program. UGI will continue to inform customers who are delinquent on their bills or are facing service shut off of the availability of these grants.
According to David Lahoff, UGI’s Manager of Customer Accounting, “The deadline extension and increased crisis grants are great news for low income customers who are struggling to pay their winter heating bills.” However, Lahoff urged customers not to wait until utility bill problems become severe before seeking assistance. “The cash portion of LIHEAP and UGI’s own energy assistance programs do not require a customer to be behind on their utility bills or in danger of being shut off for benefits to be received.” Customers can call UGI at 1-800-UGI-WARM (844-9276) to receive a LIHEAP application and assistance with the application process.
In addition, UGI is continuing to enroll customers in its customer assistance program known as LISHP for Low Income Self Help Program. In this program, low income customers pay a discounted UGI bill, which is based on a manageable percentage of their income. With regular payments, the difference between the actual bill and the discounted bill is forgiven, as are past due balances. Currently 6,245 UGI gas customers and 402 UGI electric customers are enrolled in the program. On December 1 last year, UGI received approval from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to double the number of gas customers in this customer assistance program from 4,000 to 8,000 and increase the maximum discount available. According to Lahoff, “We are actively enrolling new customers on a daily basis and are working to increase customer participation in LISHP as quickly as possible.”
UGI customers with a limited income should call UGI at 1-800-UGI-WARM (1-800-844-9276) for more information about LIHEAP, LISHP and other energy assistance programs. A family of four, with a household income less than $30,000 a year, may be eligible for assistance. To qualify for assistance, a customer must provide proof of income and the name, birth date and Social Security number for each person in his or her household. Customers applying for LIHEAP will also need a copy of a recent heating bill.
UGI customers who do not qualify for the low income energy assistance programs described above should contact UGI at 1-800-276-2722 if they are having difficulty paying their utility bills. Customers at any income level are eligible for UGI’s free Budget Billing program and may be eligible for a payment arrangement to spread out past due balances.
UGI Utilities’ headquarters is located in Reading, PA. The utility serves 307,000 natural gas customers in 14 southeastern PA counties and 62,000 electric customers in portions of Luzerne and Wyoming counties. Additional information about UGI is available at www.ugi.com.