UGI Electric to Increase Customer Assistance Program for Low Income Households
25 Sep 2008
Reading, PA – On September 24, UGI Utilities Inc, Electric Division filed a request with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) for funding that would increase the number of electric customer participants in its customer assistance program (the Low Income Self Help Program or LISHP) effective November 1. Customers who participate in LISHP make a monthly UGI bill payment based on a manageable percentage of their income. If a customer makes regular payments, the difference between the actual bill and the discounted bill is forgiven, as are past due balances. Currently about 1,100 UGI Electric customers participate in this program. Under UGI’s proposal, enrollment would increase to up to 2,500customers. In addition, UGI would increase the maximum annual discount for heating customers from $840 per customer to $1,200 per customer. A four-person household with annual income below $31,800 qualifies for LISHP. (A complete table of income requirements is attached.)
According to Peter G. Terranova, Vice President Marketing, Supply & Rates, “Higher energy prices obviously impact all customers, but those who have limited incomes are especially vulnerable as energy bills consume a much higher percentage of their income. Increasing the participation level and benefits of our LISHP program and continuing to offer a variety of other assistance and bill payment programs underscores UGI’s commitment to helping our customers maintain and afford utility services. Our programs are directed at customers who are making a sincere effort to pay their utility bills and conserve energy while dealing with personal and financial hardships.”In addition to LISHP, UGI offers the following customer assistance programs for low income customers:
LIURP (Low Income Usage Reduction Program) – Also known as the Weatherization Program, this helps reduce energy bills by proving free long-term efficiency improvements to low income households. The program includes a free home energy audit and the installation of items such as caulking, weather-stripping, heater repairs, water flow restrictors, thermostat adjustments and furnace filters at no cost to the customer.
Operation Share — 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. Funds 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.
LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) – UGI assists customers with applications for federally-funded LIHEAP grants. These grants help customers with limited incomes pay their heating bills, repair or replace a heater and avoid utility service shut off.
UGI customers with limited incomes should call UGI at 1-800-UGI-WARM (1-800-844-9276) to learn more about these energy assistance programs. 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 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 bills 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 62,000 electric customers in Luzerne and Wyoming Counties. Additional information about UGI is available at www.ugi.com.
Maximum Income Levels for LISHP, LIURP, Operation Share & LIHEAP
Household Size Annual Income Monthly Income Weekly Income
1 $15,600 $1,300 $300
2 $21,000 $1,750 $404
3 $26,400 $2,200 $508
4 $31,800 $2,650 $612
5 $37,200 $3,100 $715
6 $42,600 $3,550 $819
7 $48,000 $4,000 $923
8 $53,400 $4,450 $1,027
Add’l member $5,400 $450 $104