By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Utility shut-off notices are going out to Philadelphia homeowners who’ve fallen behind on their bills this winter. The shut off moratorium ends April 1st, but there is help available.

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The Utility Emergency Services Fund is a 30-year-old program to help families pay off utility bills and keep the lights on. Executive Director John Rowe says, this year, the Fund will be able to help up to 4,000 families.

“This was a horrible winter,” he says. “I mean, we’ve seen people come in here, people in really, really bad shape.”

Unlike LIHEAP, a state program which helps with heating bills, UESF works with all three utilities. Rowe says it can provide $750 per family — and utilities will match that — which often is all that’s needed to clear the slate.

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“They dig themselves out of a hole of having this utility arrearage,” he says, “and they tend to stay out of that hole.”

There are 15 locations around the city where families facing shut off can get help.

To view a list of locations, click here: or  to see if you qualify, click here: 

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