If a utility company is threatening to shut off your service, has already shut off your service, or is refusing to give you service, we may be able to help. Utilities might include electricity, water, and gas. If you are behind in payments, there are programs available to help you pay your monthly bill if you qualify. It's very important that you understand your rights as a utility customer especially if you have medical problems that could be made worse by a lack of electricity, heat, or water. Your options might include repayment agreements, filing a complaint with the Public Utility Commission, bankruptcy, or a medical certification.
If it is your landlord who turns off your utilities rather than the utility company, we may be able to assist you. If you discover that you are paying for utillity service in areas outside of your rental unit like a hallway or in your neighbors' unit, you should contact your utility company and we may also be to help.
What if you can't afford your monthly utility bill?
There are programs available to help people who qualify for hardship funds through electric and gas companies. County assistance offices also have programs for low-income people such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). For more information, contact your local county assistance office.
LIHEAP is also available to homeowners and tenants to help with repair or replacement of heating related equipment. There are also weatherization programs which may significantly help with ongoing utility costs. You should check with your utility company or call PA Information at 211 for a referral to a weatherization program.
Are there COVID related utility relief programs available in Pennsylvania?
Tenants in Pennsylvania may apply for rental and utility assistance though the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
I live in an apartment or a mobile home and I think that I am paying for my neighbors electricity. What do I do?
Pennsylvania law requires the owner of a residential building or mobile home park to pay for the utilities unless they are "individually metered." This means that each unit should have its own electric meter that does not include anyone else's unit or common areas. If your meter includes the common areas, such as outside lights for more than your unit, If it does, this is called a "foreign load" and you should contact the utility company. The utility company will investigate and if true, will require your landlord to take over the utility bill until the foreign load is removed.