With October approaching, the air will start getting cooler and your thermostat will start rising.
But with heating oil and electricity prices expected to remain high, some may struggle to pay their bills.
“The worst thing that a customer can do is to be overwhelmed, take a bill, and shove it away in a drawer somewhere because they’re scared to pay it, or they can’t pay it.”
That’s what Todd Meyers, Penelec Spokesperson, told us Monday when we asked him about bill assistance heading into the cold winter months.
He said Penelec can put customers in touch with different programs, grants, and payment plans to avoid getting their lights (and heat) shut off.
“We don’t want to have to send termination notices and get the ball rolling that way. What we want people to do is reach out voluntarily to us, and then we can find something — be it a payment plan or be it one of these other programs — something that will help them pay their electric bill,”
Another option for help with heating bills:
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services offers the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP.
That program “provides assistance to renters and homeowners for heating bills so low-income Pennsylvanians can stay warm and safe during the winter months.”
While registration for this LIHEAP season is not open yet, we reached out to officials with their department for more information.
“While the 2022-2023 LIHEAP season is not yet open, pre-season applications have started to be mailed to previous LIHEAP recipients who will be able to submit the application via COMPASS or with a pre-season paper application. The regular season will open on November 1 and run through April 28 and we will publicize information on the benefit amounts closer to the opening of the 22-23 LIHEAP season,”
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) also offers utility assistance programs that are currently open.
In the meantime, these officials say you can’t control world outcomes or mother nature, so learn what you can do to keep your bills low.
“For every degree that you raise the thermostat that means turning it up you can add about three percent to your electric bill. For every degree that you turn that thermostat down, you can save about three percent on your energy bill. So, the further down you can put that thermostat using things like blankets or sweaters
the better off you are,”