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Public Utility Commission Offers Help To Residents Without Heat

The winter season maybe ending, but that’s not stopping officials from making sure residents stay warm. 

More than 16,000 Pennsylvania households don’t have proper heating utilities, according to Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission.

That’s why the commission is urging residents without heat to seek one of its services for help.

The effort follows data collected by the commission’s recent Cold Weather Survey, which tracks households without utility services. 

“One of the biggest concerns we have is the health and safety of the people in those households,” Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, Public Utility Commission press secretary said. “If they don’t have a safe, central form of heat, they may be relying on other potentially unsafe forms of heat.”

The Public Utility Commission requires utilities to operate two primary programs to help Pennsylvanians who need help paying for utilities. The Customer Assistance Program sets an individual’s utility bill based on their household size and income, allowing for more affordable services. And the Low-Income Usage Reduction Program focuses on transitioning homes to more efficient heating devices.

Despite the high number of people without heat, the commission’s survey shows that number is down by one-third from December. It reported a 46 percent decrease in households without electricity service and a 24 percent reduction in households without gas service.

Officials with the Public Utility Commission said utilities' assistance programs help 770,000 households each year.

The Cold Weather Survey is conducted annually in December by electric companies and natural gas providers. The utility providers then conduct a follow-up survey midway through the winter in order to update the data.