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Utilities

Legal Information
Woman with Utility Bill.

This section of PALawHelp.org has information and resources about issues relating to Utilities 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)

Landlord’s Interference With a Tenant’s Right to Utility Service

Information from MidPenn Legal Services on a Tenant's rights regarding utility service in a rented residence. [PDF] (June 2011)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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

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.

PA Public Utility Commission Consumer Complaint Procedures Guide

This guide offers information on the PUC's complaint process including detailed information on the various types of complaints that can be filed and how to pursue a complaint. (2021)

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.

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.

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.

Know the Consumer Complaint Process and Your Options

This pamphlet describes the different types of complaints consumers can file with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and the process for filing a complaint as well as other options available to resolve disputes with a utility company.

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)

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.

Low Income Energy Programs in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Profile on this federal website that serves as a hub for information about the variation that exists among LIHEAP grantees in the operation of their programs.

Philly Tenant Resource Guide [PDF]

Resource from the Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Project providing information for people facing eviction in Philadelphia. The guide also provides contact information for agencies and organizations that provide assistance to people facing eviction on a variety of legal and practical topics, including housing, utilities, food, health and work. (2018)

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.

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.

Utility Shutoffs & Help During COVID-19

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

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.

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