HARRISBURG – Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today said he will follow up with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to ensure no customers’ utilities are shut off during the statewide Coronavirus emergency.
Seasonal restrictions on service terminations typically end April 1, but the PUC last month issued an emergency order that halts service shut-offs for as long as Gov. Wolf’s emergency declaration remains in effect.
“Many Pennsylvanians are suddenly facing unprecedented financial challenges due to the pandemic,” DePasquale said. “Right now, all utility companies need to be more flexible with customers. I’m pleased that the PUC acted quickly to ensure that no customer is left without vital utility services during this crisis.”
DePasquale noted that the PUC’s order does not excuse customers from paying their bills; it is designed to keep service in place while customers make formal payment arrangements with utility providers.
“Importantly, customers must make payment arrangements by contacting their utility providers,” DePasquale said. “The PUC’s order is meant to help struggling consumers meet their obligations without fear of being left in the dark.”
To make payment arrangements, consumers should work directly with their utility providers. To learn more about the order, visit the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission online at www.puc.state.pa.us.
DePasquale also urged the General Assembly to consider extending or expanding assistance programs, such as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), that might help Pennsylvanians facing financial hardship while so many businesses are shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19. The current LIHEAP application deadline is April 10.
Learn more about the Department of the Auditor General online at www.PaAuditor.gov.