Income-eligible PPL Electric Utilities customers having trouble paying their electric bills still have time to apply for assistance through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

The deadline for application is March 29 for the federally funded program, administered in Pennsylvania by the state's Department of Public Welfare. Keep in mind that customers don't have to have an unpaid bill to qualify and don't need to be a public assistance recipient to apply.

So far this winter, more than $3.7 million has gone to assist more than 18,400 PPL Electric Utilities customers.

LIHEAP provides cash grants to help utility customers with heating bills and crisis grants to help them cope with emergency situations.

Cash grants are based on household income, family size, region and type of heating source or fuel. In addition to proof of income and household size, applicants must provide a recent bill or a statement from their fuel dealer or utility verifying their customer status.

The maximum annual income guidelines by family size for the current LIHEAP program year are as follows:

1 person: $16,755 maximum income

2 people: $22,695 maximum income

3 people: $28,635 maximum income

4 people: $34,575 maximum income

5 people: $40,515 maximum income

6 people: $46,455 maximum income

7 people: $52,395 maximum income

8 people: $58,335 maximum income

For each additional person, add $5,940.

There are several ways to apply for LIHEAP funding.

Eligible customers can apply online at www.compass.state.pa.us [1] or visit PPL Electric Utilities' website, www.pplelectric.com/billhelp [2].

For PPL Electric Utilities customers with an active OnTrack account, a cash grant through LIHEAP could result in an account credit. Those customers should not make an OnTrack payment until they have exhausted all of the credits that appear on their monthly OnTrack electric bill.

Customers also can apply in-person at county assistance offices, and can call the statewide toll-free hotline at 1-866-857-7095 with questions.

"I would urge customers who qualify for this assistance to act now before funds are gone or the deadline passes," said Tim Dahl, manager of Regulatory Programs and Business Services for PPL Electric Utilities. "They need to take that first step and apply."

The utility has a variety of programs to help its customers manage their energy bills, including OnTrack and the Winter Relief Assistance Program.

For more information, visit www.pplelectric.com/billhelp [2].