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PA Residents to See Significant Increase in Energy Bills This Summer

by Emily Scott, Keystone State News Connection

PA Residents to See Significant Increase in Energy Bills This Summer

Starting Wednesday, Pennsylvanians may start to see a sharp increase in energy costs just as summer approaches and inflation hits people hard. Older adult advocates are offering tips to residents on how to keep electric bills down.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission announced earlier this month most utilities would be adjusting their prices for what is called electric generation. The increases could range anywhere from 6% to 45%, depending on energy provider.

Teresa Osborne, state advocacy director for AARP Pennsylvania, said there are small things Pennsylvanians can do to lower their bills.

“Reduce consumption, increase the efficiency of electricity by raising your thermostat to 78 degrees or replacing your air conditioning filter,” Osborne outlined. “We also encourage purchasing new or replacement appliances. By choosing the most energy-efficient models, that money can be saved in the long run.”

Osborne added higher energy bills are a major burden for older adults on a fixed income. The average Social Security benefit is $21,000 per year. The rate increase for other utilities, such as Duquesne Light and PECO, which serve the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas, are still being finalized.

Osborne pointed out for lower-income Pennsylvanians, there are programs available to assist with electricity costs. One of the most popular is the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

“With the American Rescue Plan Act dollars available, Pennsylvania is able to nearly double the rebate this year,” Osborne noted. “Folks are really encouraged to check their eligibility, even calling the statewide LIHEAP hotline in order to get information on the LIHEAP program specifically.”

The statewide hotline number is 1-866-857-7095. The LIHEAP application deadline has been extended through June 17. Other resources available include the Weatherization Assistance Program, which can help residents finance home-energy efficiency projects.