Your guide to utility assistance in Philly

PECO’s Customer Assistance Program

PECO’s Customer Assistance Program (CAP) adjusts your electricity or natural gas bills to your household income.

It provides a monthly credit on your bill, based on your monthly gross household income, your annual energy usage, and the percentage of your income that should go to energy costs — known as your “energy burden.”

If you qualify for CAP, any PECO debt you have can be forgiven when you enroll, company officials say.

Who’s eligible: PECO’s CAP is income-qualified, based on 150% of the federal poverty level. For a household of one in 2022, monthly income cannot exceed $1,699. For a family of four, household monthly income cannot exceed $3,469.

How to apply: You can apply for CAP online. You can too download an application form in English or Spanish and submit it by email, fax, or mail. You can call PECO for help at 1-800-774-7040.

Customers must re-enroll in CAP every two years.

CAP is PECO’s main assistance program. The company also offers budget billing to help customers balance their bills throughout the year and payment arrangements based on household income, with terms up to 60 months, for qualifying customers with account balances less than $3,000.

Utility Emergency Services Fund (UESF) grants

UESF offers grants for Philadelphia residents who have received a notice of termination or have already had their water, gas or electricity shut off.

UESF grants must zero-out a utility account balance. If your utility debt exceeds the UESF grant amount, you’ll need to be able to pay the difference in order to receive the grant. PECO, PGW, and the Philadelphia Water Department match UESF grants.

To receive a UESF grant during the LIHEAP season, you must apply for help through LIHEAP first.

Who qualifies: Philadelphians at or below 175% of federal poverty level. In 2022, that’s $1,982 monthly for a household of one and $4,047 monthly for a family of four.

You cannot receive a UESF grant more than once every two years.

How to apply: Visit a UESF intake site in person; call 215-814-6837; or email utility@uesfacts.org. You can also check your eligibility online here.

Philadelphia Water Department assistance programs

Philly water customers can apply for multiple assistance programs with a single application.

PWD offers a Tiered Assistance Program (TAP) that sets your water bill at the same amount every month. After you make 24 TAP payments, your past water debts can disappear. PWD also offers a senior citizen water bill discount.

Who qualifies: If your income is up to 150% the federal poverty level, you may be eligible for monthly water bills between 2% and 3% of your household income. If your income is up to 250% the federal poverty level, you may be eligible for bills that are around 4% of your household income.

If your household has a higher income but you’re going through a “special hardship” (like losing your job, a serious illness, or a birth or death in the family), you could still qualify.

How to apply: You can apply onlineby mail, or in-person (call 215-685-6300 to request an application be mailed to you), and in-person (some locations may be closed because of the pandemic). It will take roughly two months for PWD to review your application. In the meantime, you’ll be charged the normal amount.

PGW’s Customer Responsibility Program

Philadelphia Gas Works’ Customer Responsibility Program (CRP) gives you a discount on your monthly gas bill, based on your household size, household income, and average gas bill. The program can also lead to gas debt forgiveness.

According to PGW, the program can “cut your bill in half.”

Who qualifies: Low-income customers, based on federal poverty guidelines. The monthly income limit for a household of one is $1,518. For a family of four, it’s $3,138.

How to apply: You can apply online through PGW’s My Account portal.

PGW’s customer service centers are still closed due to the pandemic, but you can mail in an application and the necessary documents. Download applications (in 14 languages) here.

PGW also offers budget billing to help customers balance their bills throughout the year and a Customer Assistance Referral Evaluation Program (Cares) that gives payment assistance to customers facing special circumstances like medical emergencies or unemployment.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded grant program that can help you pay your heating bill. It comes in two types of grants: cash and crisis.

The cash grant is between $500 and $1,500, and goes directly to your utility company to help pay your bill. You don’t need to have an overdue balance.

The crisis grant is for when you’re in a heating emergency — for example, if your heater breaks, you run out of fuel, your heat is shut off, or you get a termination notice.

You can view potential LIHEAP benefit amounts through this tool.

PA’s LIHEAP season is now closed, but will re-open again November 1. The state is running a pilot program this summer to use LIHEAP funds to provide or repair air conditionersbut only for households that already got LIHEAP or weatherization help in the past year.

Who qualifies: Renters or homeowners who meet income requirements based on 150% of the federal poverty level. In 2022, that’s $1,699 monthly for a household of one and $3,469 monthly for a family of four.

How to apply: You can apply online or you can deliver a paper application to one of the locals county assistance offices in Philly.

You can sign up now for a text or email alert from PGW when LIHEAP applications become available.

Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is an emergency grant for households with overdue water bills, shut-off water service, or a termination notice.

You can get one grant for drinking water service and one for wastewater service, up to $2,500 each.

Who qualifies: Low-income renters or homeowners. For a household of one, annual income cannot exceed $19,320. For a family of four, it cannot exceed $39,750.

How to apply: You can apply online, or in-person at your one of several local county assistance offices in Philly. You can also download a paper application in English or Spanish hereor request an application by calling 877-395-8930.

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