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Philadelphia Gas Works assistance programs.

Programs can help Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) customers keep their power on and pay their bills. Most of the aid is offered during the cold Pennsylvania winter months when many seniors and low income families struggle to keep up.

A budgeting plan known as CRP, or Customer Responsibility Program, will help individuals budget their money better. Customers will need to pay a lower dollar amount on their natural gas bills and that amount will be based on the number of household members as well as their total income. Qualified customers will be offered a more affordable monthly payment. This can also be offered in combination with other resources as well, such as LIHEAP and free energy conservation services such as weatherization. Those who are able to enroll will need to reapply every year, and they will also be required to notify PGW if you have a change in your household income.

Customers with special conditions can sign up for the PRG Customer Assistance Referral Evaluation Program, or CARES. The objective is to help those customers with special circumstances find ways to pay their monthly utility bills.

Special conditions is a wide ranging term. Some of those who qualify can be the unemployed, families going through a divorce, a medical or family emergency, or households with a domestic violence case. Dial Philadelphia Gas Works at (215) 235-1000 for more on CARES.

Thousands of Philadelphia Gas Works customers benefit from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) every year. This is a government grant that is offered to very low income families, in particular senior citizens and families with children. It will help pay for winter heating bills, reconnection of service, or pay for fuel such as heating oil.

While funding will change every year based on federal government allotments, in general the amount of the grant will depend on your income and number of family members. It will range from $100 to $1000 per year. An emergency component will help homeowners or renters in Philadelphia who are out of fuel or facing a shut off of their service. This is known as a Crisis grant, and more information is below. Call  215-787-4328.





When someone is facing a heating emergency, a crisis grant is your main option. The application process is more streamlined, and it will help when your service is currently shut off or threatened to be shut off.

Financial assistance that is part of the crisis programs will help qualified low income customers pay their bills, cover the cost of restoring service or grants can even be used to fix a broken heater. It can also be combined with other Pennsylvania programs such as LIHEAP and UESF.

Payment plans and other solutions may be available. If you are struggling or falling behind, then call Philadelphia Gas Works as soon as possible. Do not wait until you get a shut-office notice. Call PGW (phone number 215-787-432) to explore any type of payment plans, negotiated solutions, and to learn about any other options that may be available. The company also partners with local non-profits, charities, and other groups.

UESF - Utility Emergency Services Fund can help pay off an arrearage on your account, otherwise known as an unpaid balance. It is offered for qualified low income customers, and when funding is available up to $1500 may be provided. It is available if their power has been turned off or if they are very close to a disconnection. Dial 215-787-4328, or visit a local social service office in Philadelphia, as these will also serve as many of the intake sites.

Families can only apply for UESF once every two years. If you are interested, customers need to have applied for LIHEAP or a crisis grant first. Only after that time, and if the applicant is out of all other resources, may they be considered for the Utility Emergency Services Fund.

By Jon McNamara

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