The Philadelphia Utility Emergency Services Fund was created as a result of a partnership that was formed between the Philadelphia Gas Works, PECO Energy, and also the Philadelphia Water Department. Since it was created in 1983, the UESF program has been able to assist over 320,000 people with paying their utility bills, or to help them keep their service connected.
Grants have been provided to people facing a disconnection and those who are behind on paying their utility bills for almost 30 years. The grants that are paid from the Utility Emergency Services Fund are targeted to people who have either received a disconnect notice or who have already had their service terminated. The grants that are paid out as part of the program are made to eliminate the client's past unpaid utility bills. But that is not all that the program offers. In addition, when available, additional services and resources including energy efficiency counseling, conservation program, weatherization services and budget assistance is provided to those in need.
How do I qualify?
The Utility Emergency Services Fund will provide financial assistance for paying utility bills that are in a shut off status or it can also assist customers who accounts are already terminated. All cash grants that are paid out must be applied to the utility account and they must allow the account to reach a zero balance. If the amount owed on the utility bill is in excess of the maximum cash grant, the applicant to the program will be responsible for the balance at the time of making the request for assistance.
The number of people assisted, and the amount of money provided, is incredible. Since its inception almost 30 years ago, the UESF program has assisted residents of Philadelphia Pennsylvania by providing them with over $60 million in emergency financial assistance for their utility bills.
The UESF is a non-profit, independent organization that is tasked with and that prides itself on being able to assist those consumers and households that have no other place to turn to for help in times of need. By this non-profit organization providing emergency financial assistance, it will in effect allow the household the chance to start again with a clean slate and a bill that does not have an unpaid balance. It is unfortunate that second chances in life are infrequent, but the fact is that they are sometimes critical for survival, and to get back on track.
The program offers a unique service of emergency financial assistance to those in need. Clients will be able to apply for cash grants of $500 to reach a zero balance with their bill. In addition to certain income threshholds, all of UESF's clients must have their utility service terminated or have received a recent notice of shut off status. When considering UESF's partnership with the three major utility companies that serve Pennsylvania customers, a dollar for dollar match is made to reach the $500 total cash grant. Clients of the program are responsible for any arrearage that exists above that total.
You can dial (215) 972-5170 to learn more about the Philadelphia Utility Emergency Services Fund and to also apply for help.