Columbia Gas assistance programs in Pennsylvania.

Whether you need help paying your Columbia Gas bills, or want to save money on conservation measures, the energy provider can help low income customers in Pennsylvania. Individuals can apply for government assistance programs that are offered at the federal or state level and they can also look into resources administered directly by Columbia Gas.

Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program and LIHEAP Crisis

Columbia Gas customers in Pennsylvania can apply for federal government funds from LIHEAP. These resources are in addition to the energy company’s own utility bill assistance programs. The application period will usually be open from November 1 to mid April of every year, with seniors and the disabled applying before others.

Any assistance is provided as a grant, so it does not need to be repaid. The income level at which people can seek help will vary each year. However it is available each year, as LIHEAP is continually running. So federal government money is available to pay your monthly gas bills.

Another option available is the LIHEAP Crisis program. This will provide grants to low income people who are faced with a disconnection or who have an unsafe living condition in their home. Emergency cash grants can be provided from the federal government crisis program for low income customers whose service has been interrupted or terminated for lack of payment on their account. Also, if you are faced with imminent shut off of your Columbia Gas service, crisis grants can help in those cases too.

To learn more or to apply for either of these Low-income Home Energy Assistance Programs, call your local community action agency in Pennsylvania. Or feel free to call Columbia Gas, as their representatives will also have the latest information on both program availability and eligibility guidelines. You can dial 1-800-272-2714 to reach the hotline.





Columbia Gas payment plans

The primary option is the Customer Assistance Program (CAP), and it provides low income customers with what the energy company thinks are affordable payment plans. It may be customized for a certain situation as well. Individuals with long-term bill payment problems are the primary beneficiaries.

Participation is set using strict income guidelines, and it will be based upon certain federal government guidelines as well. The Customer Assistance Program is a great solution for residential heat customers who need a long term solution to a bill payment problem. Call 1-800-537-7431 for details.

Dollar Energy fuel fund program

This program is offered by Columbia Gas and other utility companies in Pennsylvania. It is run as a non-profit foundation, and based on resource levels, the financial assistance program will pay out cash grants to qualified individuals. The money needs to be used to restore gas service to someone who had their account disconnected. Dollar Energy can also be used to pay off an arrearage on a customer’s account.

Customers must have applied for and exhausted all other available energy assistance programs, including the resources mentioned above such as LIHEAP. So this is an emergency program for people who have nowhere else to turn for help with paying their Columbia gas bills. Call 1-800-537-743 to speak to a member of the Universal Services department and to apply.





Energy conservation from Warm Choice

Receive an energy audit of your home and also possibly receive free energy conservation as well as weatherization measures. Warm Choice is offered to Columbia Gas customers at no cost to them. Low income customers who spend a large percentage of their income on their gas bills are prime candidates for Warm Choice, so it is an income based service. The main goal is to help people manage and reduce their gas heating costs and energy use by saving energy, improving their home, and making conservation a top priority. 1-800-537-7431.

Emergency Replacement/Repair Fund from Columbia Gas

Financial assistance is provided for the replacement or repair of gas furnaces, service and house lines, and water and space heaters. Other HVAC or heating systems may be eligible too. Whatever your primary heat source is, if it is broken or not fully functioning, then it can be repaired or replaced. This crisis program is designed to resolve situations that involve unsafe service conditions.

Funds are very limited. People who own and live in their home, and who meet low income levels, can apply for a grant from this program. Call the Columbia Gas customer service number to learn more.

Customer Assistance Referral and Evaluation Services, or CARES, can help people faced with a temporary hardship. Personalized counseling and financial assistance may be provided to Columbia Gas customers who are having difficulty with paying their monthly bills.




Customer service representatives are trained to help people find a solution to their crisis, no matter what the cause of it is. Services are always confidential. The Universal Services team members are resourceful and can refer individuals to resources such as LIHEAP, weatherization the Customer Assistance Program, or whatever program would be most beneficial to them.

Columbia Gas also works closely with non-profits in Pennsylvania that offer budget and debt counseling, and they offer linkage to energy grant programs and local community resources. The department and representatives can be contacted at 1-800-537-7431.

Medical assistance programs

Columbia Gas may postpone the termination of a customers utility service for up to 30 days if they are faced with a serious medical condition or some form of short term disability. A licensed physician will need to complete a medical certification form stating that termination would be hazardous to the safety or health of a permanent resident of your apartment or home.

By Jon McNamara

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