Skip to main content

Utilities

Legal Information
Woman reading paper.

This section of PALawHelp.org has information and resources about Utility issues in Pennsylvania.

Click on a resource category listed below to see information related to that category.

What Every Utility Customer Should Know

Information from Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc. for utility customers

Utility Service for Tenants (Video)

This video from Neighborhood Legal Services Association explains what a tenant should do when a landlord fails to pay the utility bill and the service is going to be shut off.

General Utility Info for PA Residents Of Limited Means

Information from Northwestern Legal Services for consumers regarding utility matters. (2018)

Low-Income Water Assistance Program/LIHWAP

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a temporary emergency program to help low-income families pay overdue water bills. LIHWAP is a grant. You do not have to repay it. LIHWAP crisis grants may be available if you have an emergency situation and are in jeopardy of losing your water service.

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission

400 North Street Keystone Building Harrisburg, PA 17120

www.puc.state.pa.us/

This group does not provide legal representation in court.

Utility Shut-Offs

If you receive notice that your utilities will be shut off, you need to act quickly to protect your rights. It is more difficult to get service turned back on after shut off. No matter who is responsible to pay for the utilities, a utility company follow certain procedures. This guide from the Housing Equality Center of Pennsylvania provides information on the process and what you can do to prevent the shut off or to restore service after a shut off.

Water Shutoffs in Philadelphia

Information for consumers on assistance available to Philadelphia residents to avoid water shutoffs including how to apply for available assistance programs.

COMPASS - Apply for Public Benefits and Services from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania residents can apply for a variety of programs offered by the PA Department of Human Services, including public assistance, food stamps, health care coverage, energy assistance and other social service programs at this site

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission - Formal Complaint Process

Information from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission regarding it's formal complaint process. The formal complaint process involves a legal proceeding where you and the utility must present facts on issues raised in your complaint to a PUC administrative law judge. The process can take six months or more until a complaint is adjudicated. Individuals or companies may file formal complaints. Individuals are not required to have a lawyer to file a formal complaint. However, companies must be represented by an attorney.

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission - Informal Complaints

Information from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to assist consumers in resolving complaints with utility companies under the PUC’s authority. When an informal complaint is filed through the Bureau of Consumer Services (BCS), a BCS investigator works to facilitate discussion between the parties to resolve the complaint. This process is much less time-consuming than the formal complaint process and usually results in a faster resolution to the case. Informal complaints against utilities are confidential and not available for public inspection.

PUC Complaints

Information from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on filing complaints with the Public Utility Commission.

LIHEAP Benefit Amount Table

This tool from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services allows you to see the amount of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) benefits you are eligible to receive. Select the county where you live and the type of fuel you use to heat your home or a type you to use for additional heat. The benefit table for your county and the type of fuel you use is displayed listing the LIHEAP benefit amount for your yearly income range and household size.

How to File a Show Cause Order in Cambria and Indiana Counties (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services shows how residents of Cambria and Indiana Counties can file a show cause order when a landlord shuts off your utilities to try and evict you.

Low-Income Water Assistance Program/LIHWAP

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a temporary emergency program to help low-income families pay overdue water bills. LIHWAP is a grant. You do not have to repay it. LIHWAP crisis grants may be available if you have an emergency situation and are in jeopardy of losing your water service.

Water Shutoffs in Philadelphia

Information for consumers on assistance available to Philadelphia residents to avoid water shutoffs including how to apply for available assistance programs.

COMPASS - Apply for Public Benefits and Services from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania residents can apply for a variety of programs offered by the PA Department of Human Services, including public assistance, food stamps, health care coverage, energy assistance and other social service programs at this site

Low-Income Water Assistance Program/LIHWAP

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a temporary emergency program to help low-income families pay overdue water bills. LIHWAP is a grant. You do not have to repay it. LIHWAP crisis grants may be available if you have an emergency situation and are in jeopardy of losing your water service.

Water Shutoffs in Philadelphia

Information for consumers on assistance available to Philadelphia residents to avoid water shutoffs including how to apply for available assistance programs.

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission - Formal Complaint Process

Information from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission regarding it's formal complaint process. The formal complaint process involves a legal proceeding where you and the utility must present facts on issues raised in your complaint to a PUC administrative law judge. The process can take six months or more until a complaint is adjudicated. Individuals or companies may file formal complaints. Individuals are not required to have a lawyer to file a formal complaint. However, companies must be represented by an attorney.

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission - Informal Complaints

Information from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to assist consumers in resolving complaints with utility companies under the PUC’s authority. When an informal complaint is filed through the Bureau of Consumer Services (BCS), a BCS investigator works to facilitate discussion between the parties to resolve the complaint. This process is much less time-consuming than the formal complaint process and usually results in a faster resolution to the case. Informal complaints against utilities are confidential and not available for public inspection.

PUC Complaints

Information from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on filing complaints with the Public Utility Commission.

LIHEAP Benefit Amount Table

This tool from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services allows you to see the amount of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) benefits you are eligible to receive. Select the county where you live and the type of fuel you use to heat your home or a type you to use for additional heat. The benefit table for your county and the type of fuel you use is displayed listing the LIHEAP benefit amount for your yearly income range and household size.

Federal Court Finder

Find a federal court location by location or court name, including appellate, district, bankruptcy, probation and pretrial office, or federal defender organization. Each District Court has its own local forms which are generally available on the Court website.

How to File a Show Cause Order in Cambria and Indiana Counties (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services shows how residents of Cambria and Indiana Counties can file a show cause order when a landlord shuts off your utilities to try and evict you.

Utility Service for Tenants (Video)

This video from Neighborhood Legal Services Association explains what a tenant should do when a landlord fails to pay the utility bill and the service is going to be shut off.

Utilities Termination Issues

Information from MidPenn Legal Services outlining your consumer rights regarding utility terminations.

Utility Service Tenants Rights Act

Information for tenants from Northwestern Legal Services regarding utility service your rights under the Tenants Rights Act.

LIHEAP and CAP Programs (Video)

This video from Neighborhood Legal Services Association explains the operation of the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Customer Assistance Programs (CAP) offered by utility companies.

Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Information Neighborhood Legal Services Association on the Pennsylvania Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program that helps low income people pay their heating bills through energy assistance grants and emergency repair assistance.

LIHEAP FAQ's

A list of frequently asked questions from Northwestern Legal Services relating the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in Pennsylvania. (November 2019)

Low-Income Water Assistance Program/LIHWAP

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a temporary emergency program to help low-income families pay overdue water bills. LIHWAP is a grant. You do not have to repay it. LIHWAP crisis grants may be available if you have an emergency situation and are in jeopardy of losing your water service.

Need Help With Your Energy Bills?

The Public Utility Commission requires utilities to have programs and protections that help limited-income customers keep their utility service. These programs may help you to pay utility bills or lower the amount of electricity or natural gas you use. This brochure provides information on these programs. It includes some tips to help you stay warm, lower your heating bills, and tells you who to call to get help.

Water Shutoffs in Philadelphia

Information for consumers on assistance available to Philadelphia residents to avoid water shutoffs including how to apply for available assistance programs.

Affordable Connectivity Program

The Affordable Connectivity Program is an FCC benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare and more. The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price. The Affordable Connectivity Program is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

GetInternet.gov

This website provides a a simple, easy-to-use one-stop resource with details on how you can sign up for Affordable Connectivity Program (ACF), which provides a subsidy for broadband internet service, and find participating internet providers who will provide broadband service in their area for a cost equal to the ACF subsidy, resulting in no cost to the consumer.

COMPASS - Apply for Public Benefits and Services from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania residents can apply for a variety of programs offered by the PA Department of Human Services, including public assistance, food stamps, health care coverage, energy assistance and other social service programs at this site

Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 included funding for states to establish Emergency Rental Assistance Programs (ERAP). ERAP is now taking applications. ERAP helps tenant households with paying rent, past-due rent balances (also known as arrears), utility and home energy costs, utility and home energy cost arrears, and other expenses related to housing.

Heating Assistance/LIHEAP

Information from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services regarding the Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) program in Pennsylvania, how to apply, program dates, as well as the income limits for this program.

Lifeline: Affordable Telephone Service for Income-Eligible Subscribers

Lifeline is a government benefit program that provides a discount on monthly telephone service for eligible low-income subscribers to help ensure they can connect to the nation's communications networks, find jobs, access health care services, connect with family and their children's schools, and call for help in an emergency. Lifeline is supported by the federal Universal Service Fund (USF).

Affordable Connectivity Program

The Affordable Connectivity Program is an FCC benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare and more. The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price. The Affordable Connectivity Program is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

Consumer Publications from the Public Utility Commission

Many publications from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

GetInternet.gov

This website provides a a simple, easy-to-use one-stop resource with details on how you can sign up for Affordable Connectivity Program (ACF), which provides a subsidy for broadband internet service, and find participating internet providers who will provide broadband service in their area for a cost equal to the ACF subsidy, resulting in no cost to the consumer.

Low-Income Water Assistance Program/LIHWAP

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a temporary emergency program to help low-income families pay overdue water bills. LIHWAP is a grant. You do not have to repay it. LIHWAP crisis grants may be available if you have an emergency situation and are in jeopardy of losing your water service.

Need Help With Your Energy Bills?

The Public Utility Commission requires utilities to have programs and protections that help limited-income customers keep their utility service. These programs may help you to pay utility bills or lower the amount of electricity or natural gas you use. This brochure provides information on these programs. It includes some tips to help you stay warm, lower your heating bills, and tells you who to call to get help.

PA Power Switch

PAPowerSwitch.com from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) provides information to make sure you have the tools at your fingertips to make an informed decision when selecting an electric supplier.

Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate

The Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) is a state agency that represents the interests of Pennsylvania utility consumers before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), federal regulatory agencies, and state and federal courts. The OCA was created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1976 and is an independent office within the Office of Attorney General.

Responsible Utility Customer Protection Act

This new law changed rules that apply to cash deposits; re-connection of service; termination of service; payment arrangements; and the filing of termination complaints by consumers for electric, gas and water. This fact sheet from the PA Public Utility Commission is designed to provide you with very important information regarding how the new Act affects you and your utility service. [PDF] (January 2020)

Water Shutoffs in Philadelphia

Information for consumers on assistance available to Philadelphia residents to avoid water shutoffs including how to apply for available assistance programs.

Free Safelink Wireless Phone and Plan for Low-income Pennsylvanians

SafeLink Wireless provides a free wireless phone and cellular plan for qualifying Pennsylvanians through the Lifeline government benefit program. Services are available in many, but not all, areas of Pennsylvania. Household income at or below 135% of FPG.

Utility Shut-Offs

If you receive notice that your utilities will be shut off, you need to act quickly to protect your rights. It is more difficult to get service turned back on after shut off. No matter who is responsible to pay for the utilities, a utility company follow certain procedures. This guide from the Housing Equality Center of Pennsylvania provides information on the process and what you can do to prevent the shut off or to restore service after a shut off.

How to File a Show Cause Order in Cambria and Indiana Counties (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services shows how residents of Cambria and Indiana Counties can file a show cause order when a landlord shuts off your utilities to try and evict you.

How to File a Show Cause Order in Cambria and Indiana Counties (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services shows how residents of Cambria and Indiana Counties can file a show cause order when a landlord shuts off your utilities to try and evict you.

Water Shutoffs in Philadelphia

Information for consumers on assistance available to Philadelphia residents to avoid water shutoffs including how to apply for available assistance programs.

Utility Assistance for those Affected by the Corona Virus

The Pennsylvania Utility Law Project provides utility assistance information for renters and homeowners in Pennsylvania affected by COVID-19.

Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 included funding for states to establish Emergency Rental Assistance Programs (ERAP). ERAP is now taking applications. ERAP helps tenant households with paying rent, past-due rent balances (also known as arrears), utility and home energy costs, utility and home energy cost arrears, and other expenses related to housing.

Utility Shutoffs & Help During COVID-19

Information on your rights under new COVID-19 rules for electric, natural gas, water, wastewater, telecommunication & steam utilities.

Back to top