By Lynne Adkins
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Beginning tomorrow, utility shutoffs for customers behind on their payments in Pennsylvania are allowed to resume.
Utility companies in Pennsylvania are not allowed to shut off service to low-income residents during the winter, and Peco spokesman Ben Armstrong says that annual moratorium season ends this Tuesday, April 1st.
“This means that Peco will begin to terminate service for low-income customers who are behind on their electric and natural gas bills,” he tells KYW Newsradio. “In many cases customers are anywhere from 45 to 60 days or more behind on their bills.”
He says termination notices and phone calls are sent to the customers before service is turned off, and he urges anyone who is behind on their payments to call the utility before they lose service, to make arrangements to settle the bill or take advantage of the various financial programs that are available.
John Rowe, executive director of the Utility Emergency Services Fund, says anyone in Philadelphia facing a shutoff of natural gas, electricity, or water service should call his office first. He says grants are available that will be matched by the utility companies.
And Rowe expects demand to be high because this winter was so harsh.
“There were so many days in a row that it was below freezing,” he notes, “and the Philadelphia region has been hit with really high utility bills this year — even more than in recent previous years. We can help. We have assistance available with Peco, PGW, and the (Philadelphia) Water Department.”
If you need help, he says, call 215-972-5170.