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Hardship Program

Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program assists eligible utility customers with their gas, electric and water bills. Eligible customers receive a one-time grant applied directly to their utility bill. Our program is a fund of last resort because it goes above and beyond what is available through federal, state and other programs. The Hardship Program provides grants to qualified utility customers on a first come, first serve basis while funding is available.

2017 – 2018 Pennsylvania Hardship Program Guidelines

Maximum Grant:

The maximum grant amount an applicant may receive is $500.

Applicants can only receive one grant per utility, per program year. (10/2/2017 – 9/30/2018)

Grant awards are based on need and each family’s circumstances are different. Grant amounts are determined on a case to case basis.

Balance Requirement:

Applicant must have an outstanding balance on their utility bill of at least $100.

Senior Citizens, age 62 and over, may have a $0 balance as long as there is no existing credit on the account.

Program Dates:

Open from October 2, 2017, through November 30, 2017, for services that are off or in threat of termination only.

Open from December 1, 2017, through January 31, 2018, for services that are off only.

Available from February 1, 2018, through February 28, 2018, for services that are off or in threat of termination.

If applicants are eligible and programs are open, applicants must apply for LIHEAP and CRISIS before applying for the Dollar Energy Fund Hardship Program.

Starting March 1, 2018, the Hardship Program is open to all eligible applicants regardless of service status for most utilities.

Sincere Effort of Payment:

Applicants must have paid at least $150 on their gas and electric accounts in the past three months. Senior Citizens, age 62 and over, must have paid $100 on their accounts.

Applicants must have paid at least $100 on their water account in the last three months. Senior Citizens must have paid at least $50.

Exceptions may be made in cases of extreme hardships.

Eligibility Guidelines:

The account must be residential, single home or apartment. No “Cooking Only”, commercial, industrial, or apartments with shared utility service.

The name on the account must be that of an adult who is currently living in the home.

Application Attachments:

Verification of income or proof of LIHEAP or Crisis application, when those programs are open, must be attached to all applications.

A copy of the most recent utility bill with proof of minimum payment must be attached to all applications.

Income Guidelines

With the exception of FirstEnergy customers, total gross household income must be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.

Total gross household income for FirstEnergy customers must be at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.

Use our Income Calculator to find out if your gross (before tax) income is within the range of eligibility for our programs.

How to Apply

The best way to start seeking help is by calling your utility company. They will provide you with information on a number of different assistance programs that are available to help low-income utility customers.

  • Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania: 1-800-537-7431
  • Peoples Natural Gas: 1-800-400-9276
  • Peoples TWP: 1-800-222-5101
  • Valley Energy: 1-570-265-6415
  • Citizens Electric: 1-570-524-2231
  • Duquesne Light: 1-888-393-7600
  • Met-Ed & Penelec: 1-800-545-7741
  • Penn Power: 1-800-720-3600
  • West Penn Power: 1-800-686-0021
  • Wellsboro Electric Company: 570-724-3516

Dollar Energy also partners with a network of Community Based Organizations throughout the state. These dedicated agencies provide application intake services for clients. Find an agency in your area with Dollar Energy Fund’s Agency Finder.

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$142 Million in Grants Distributed Since 1983