There's still time to apply for heating assistance program

Cash grants ensure eligible PPL Electric Utilities customers stay warm through winter

With the snow and ice of recent storms serving as a stark reminder that we're in the middle of winter, PPL Electric Utilities encourages customers who need help paying their heating bills to check their eligibility for cash grants under the federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Through LIHEAP, nearly 30,000 PPL Electric Utilities customers have already received $6.7 million in assistance with their heating bills this winter season.

"That money offers families greater peace of mind through the winter months," said Tim Dahl, manager of Regulatory Programs and Business Services for PPL Electric Utilities. "We want our customers to know that help is still available for those who meet the requirements."

LIHEAP, which is administered by the state's Department of Public Welfare, will accept grant applications through March 31 or until the funds run out. Two types of grants are available: cash grants that help eligible homeowners and renters pay for home heating this winter, and crisis grants to help with heating emergencies or fuel shortages. The state began accepting applications for crisis grants earlier this month.

"We stand ready to help our customers with grant applications as well as referrals to local assistance offices if necessary," Dahl said.

Although there are income guidelines, the program is not limited to customers with unpaid bills or those receiving public assistance. LIHEAP income guidelines for 2010-11 are listed below.

Eligible customers can apply online at www.pplelectric.com or through the Department of Public Welfare website: www.dpw.state.pa.us/foradults/heatingassistanceliheap/index.htm.

PPL Electric Utilities also offers other programs to help customers in need of assistance.

Ÿ OnTrack, a special payment plan that offers reduced monthly payments, protection from shutoffs and debt forgiveness. OnTrack is for residential customers who are struggling to pay their bills and who meet program income guidelines. It gives them a chance to earn a fresh start. OnTrack is administered by local agencies.

Ÿ Operation HELP provides emergency financial aid to pay heating bills for families with financial hardships. PPL Electric Utilities was one of the first utilities to establish a fuel fund for customers in need. Operation HELP is funded by voluntary contributions from customers, employees and PPL, and is administered by a network of local agencies.

Ÿ Winter Relief Assistance Program, or WRAP, which provides free energy education, home weatherization and conservation services. WRAP can help eligible customers reduce their energy use and improve their living comfort.

To learn more about these programs and their eligibility requirements, customers should call 1-800-358-6623 or go to www.pplelectric.com, then click on Quick Links and "Need Help Paying Your Bill."