As the largest electric and natural gas utility in Pennsylvania, PECO served approximately 1.6 million electric and more than 500,000 natural gas customers as of 2014. Those numbers included more than 130,000 low-income customers assisted annually with grants and discounted rates. Assistance programs have differing criteria and are accessed through several means, including online applications or walk-in service.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, grants are available through the fall and winter months. LIHEAP provides cash grants of up to $1,000 for energy bills. Grants of up to $500 are also available to pay fees to reinstate shut-off service, or to repair leaking pipes and broken furnaces. Grant amounts are based on household size, income and type of fuel used, and are provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
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Applying for LIHEAP
A LIHEAP grant recipient's total household income cannot exceed 150 percent of Federal poverty income guidelines. For example, a four-person household's income can't be more than $35,325. Customers apply online at PECO's website or at COMPASS, Pennsylvania's benefits portal; or in person at PECO's headquarters at 2301Market Street in Philadelphia. Local departments of public welfare process applications and require photo i.d. and other information, including proof of household income and a current heating bill.
Matching Energy Assistance Fund
PECO's Matching Energy Assistance Fund, or MEAF, operates when LIHEAP is closed. It provides grants between $500 and $1,500 for consumers with limited household income to pay energy bills, to stop service shut-off and reconnect service. The grant must cover the consumer's entire energy bill, whether used alone or with other resources. Consumers, who can access these grants every two years, apply at a Utility Emergency Services Fund intake site. They must provide proof of identification and household income.
While not an outright grant program, PECO's CAP Rate offers discounted rates of up to 90 percent on power use. It's based on the customer's gross household income. Applicants must be a PECO customer with a monthly household income under a certain level. Applications are available online at PECO's website. Among other information, applicants must provide Social Security numbers and proof of income over the last 90 days for everyone in the household.
PECO's Customer Assistance and Referral Evaluation Services, or CARES, provides referral and other information services for special-needs, low-income customers, such as those with disabilities. It helps those who have a temporary personal or financial hardship preventing payment of bills. Customers request this assistance at 1-800-774-7040.