Monday, February 22, 2021

PUC Urges Consumers, Businesses To Contact Utilities Serving Them To Explore Assistance Options, Address Overdue Balances

On February 22, the Public Utility Commission urged consumers or businesses that may be struggling with larger winter utility bills or overdue balances to call their public utilities today to explore all available assistance options – and to take advantage of enhanced winter options before those programs may change or end.

There are an estimated 1 million Pennsylvania customers late on their utility bills due to the pandemic.  The state’s largest electric and gas utilities alone are owed more than $743 million, that amount is up about 76 percent from a year ago.  Read more here.

There are many assistance options currently available, but the arrival of spring – just weeks away – could bring changes or an end to some safeguards and may put some utility customers at risk of termination if they do not act soon.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the PUC adopted a series of enhanced consumer protections intended to safeguard families and small businesses who may be struggling financially.  

Additionally, utilities have various customer assistance programs for income-qualified households, and many major utilities also took other voluntary steps to keep residents and businesses connected during the winter. But those assistance options may change or end on March 31, 2021.

Call Your Utility Now

The best “first step” that any consumer can take right now is to call their public utility’s customer service hotline and ask for information about their customer assistance programs.

Each major utility has a team of representatives trained to help consumers explore the many options that may be available and connect those families with the necessary resources. 

If a consumer is unable to resolve an issue or obtain needed information from the utility, the consumer may contact the PUC’s Bureau of Consumer Services toll free at 1-800-692-7380.

The Commission encouraged consumers to take maximum advantage of assistance options – including payment plans, the waiver of late-payment charges and fees, and other affordability options that may not be available in the future.

Currently, all PUC-regulated public utilities in Pennsylvania are required to offer a series of enhanced consumer protections to “protected consumers” – those residential households hardest hit by the economic downturn triggered by COVID-19, along with aid for small businesses.

[Posted: February 22, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner