Reading, PA (November 2, 2005) – This winter’s higher heating bills are a serious concern for many customers, particularly those on limited or fixed incomes. UGI reminds customers that heating
assistance programs are available to those who qualify. UGI is helping eligible gas and electric customers apply for grants and programs which will help keep their homes warm this winter. And the good news is some of these programs are expected to receive increased funding to help match the growing need. On November 1, UGI filed a request with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for funding that would double the number of gas customer participants in its customer assistance program (the Low Income Self Help Program or LISHP) this winter. In addition, UGI will double its corporate contribution and available matching funds to its Operation Share Fuel Fund to benefit both gas and electric customers.
Available programs are described below and income eligibility charts are attached.
LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) — These federally funded grants, which do not need to be repaid, help customers pay their heating bills, repair or replace a heater and avoid utility service shut off. This winter Pennsylvania will receive $120 million in federal funds for LIHEAP and Governor Rendell has proposed a first ever state contribution of up to $15 million toward LIHEAP. Last winter over 15,800 UGI customers received money from LIHEAP. The average grant was $233. Funds are limited and available on a first come, first serve basis, so UGI urges customers to apply as soon as possible.
LISHP (Low Income Self Help Program) — In this UGI customer assistance program, participants make a monthly UGI bill payment 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 4,385 UGI gas customers and 360 UGI electric customers participate. On November 1, UGI filed a request with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for funding that would double the number of gas customer participants this winter and increase the maximum discount available.
Operation Share Fuel Fund — This program helps UGI customers with good payment records who have trouble paying their winter heating bills due to problems such as low or fixed income, unemployment, disability, or the sudden death, illness or injury of the household’s main income provider. Last year 449 UGI gas and electric customers received grants from this fund, averaging $110 each. Funds for Operation Share are donated by UGI and its customers and employees. In addition to its base donation, UGI matches every $2 donated by customers and employees with an additional $1. This winter UGI will double its corporate contribution and available matching funds to benefit both gas and electric customers. Customers who would like to contribute to this fund should look for a pledge form enclosed with their UGI bill.
LIURP (Low Income Usage Reduction Program) – Also known as the Weatherization Program, this helps reduce energy bills by providing free long-term efficiency improvements to low income households. The program includes a free home energy audit and the installation of items such as insulation, caulking, weather-stripping, heater repairs, water flow restrictors, thermostat adjustments and furnace filters. Last winter 268 UGI customers received free home efficiency improvements valued at approximately $2,000 per household.
UGI customers with a limited income should call UGI at 1-800-UGI-WARM (1-800-844-9276) to learn more about UGI’s energy assistance programs and to receive an application for LIHEAP. Customers do not need to be behind on their UGI bill payments or in danger of service shut off to be eligible. 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 programs described above can still take steps to manage their winter heating bills. These include:
• Budget Billing to spread costs more evenly over a 12-month period.
• Conserving Energy by lowering a thermostats and using set-back or programmable features where possible.
• Maintaining Heating Equipment with regular tune ups and filter changes for enhanced efficiency.
• Payment Arrangements for past-due balances.
At any time of the year, UGI customers who have a problem paying their utility bill are encouraged to contact UGI promptly for information on available programs and services. UGI representatives are trained to work with customers who are making a sincere effort to pay their UGI bills and can offer solutions or referrals to appropriate agencies.
UGI Utilities’ headquarters is located in Reading, PA. The utility serves 300,000 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
Maximum Income Levels for LIHEAP
Household Size Annual Income Monthly Income Weekly Income
1 $12,920 $1,077 $248
2 $17,321 $1,443 $333
3 $21,722 $1,810 $418
4 $26,123 $2,177 $502
5 $30,524 $2,544 $587
6 $34,925 $2,910 $672
7 $39,326 $3,277 $756
8 $43,727 $3,644 $841
Add’l member +$4,401 +$367 +$85