The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is hosting its second of five statewide annual PA “Be Utility Wise” events on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at Mohegan Sun, 1280 Highway 315, Wilkes-Barre, PA. The outreach events will continue across Pennsylvania through October and November, including Reading on October 31, 2016.
PUC Vice Chairman Andrew Place is the opening speaker at the Wilkes-Barre event, which will focus on the importance of increasing awareness throughout Northeastern PA about the many assistance programs intended to help lower-income residents afford and maintain utility services.
“It is essential that we work to connect all the different programs in a community to more effectively serve as many people as possible,” said Vice Chairman Andrew Place. “We need to stay connected to each other to best serve those residents. Our driving focus is to keep these families connected to essential utility services.”
According to data compiled by the PUC, Pennsylvania utilities spent nearly $459 million on various customer assistance programs last year, not counting private assistance or the federal Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Every year, these programs helped reduce the monthly bills for more than 280,000 electric customers and over 160,000 natural gas customers across the state – and enrollment and annual spending for these programs has increased dramatically over the past decade.
Additionally, PUC-required assistance services also support programs to help low-income customers modernize their heating systems and reduce their energy consumption – making current and future utility bills more affordable. Utilities, and their customers, also contribute several million dollars per year in hardship funds, assisting thousands of in-need families.
In addition to networking opportunities, the free “train-the-trainer” event will feature presentations from state agencies, local utility companies and other financial assistance programs in order to share ideas and services.
This year’s participants include the PUC, United Way of Greater Hazleton, PPL Electric Utilities Inc., UGI Utilities Inc., Dollar Energy Fund, North Penn Legal, Commission on Economic Opportunity, Weinberg Regional Food Bank, the state’s Office of Consumer Advocate, and the Luzerne County Assistance Office.
The remaining PUC’s Be Utility Wise events include:
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton – Oct. 20, 2016, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
1280 Highway 315
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
Johnstown – Oct. 28, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
450 Schoolhouse Rd.
Johnstown, PA 15904
Berks County – Oct. 31, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Double Tree by Hilton
701 Penn Street
Reading, PA 19601
Harrisburg – Nov. 15, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Red Lion Inn
4751 Lindle Rd.
Harrisburg PA 17111