There are many programs to help families and individuals who are having difficulty keeping their homes warm during the winter months. Some of the programs are through government agencies. Some are through private companies. It’s a complicated process. You may want to follow the order listed below.
For general reference this Utility Assistance Chart includes information about public and private programs to help those in need stay safe in cold weather.
Applications for LIHEAP Crisis and LIHEAP Cash will not be handled by DHS in 2012-13.
Contact your utility companies directly.
Individuals behind on utility payments can call their utility companies to arrange a payment plan.
EAP - Most utilities have Energy Assistance Programs (EAP’s) that low-income individuals may be able to access if they have had a temporary financial crisis. EAP services may include home visits, budget management, and reduced payments.
CAP or CARES - Some utility companies will also refer clients to CAP (Customer Assistance Program) or CARES (Customer Assistance Referral and Evaluation Service) programs if asked. Social workers hired within the utility or contracted through other agencies assist low-income or otherwise needy households with either a temporary or long-term reduction in budget payments through CAP and CARES. Contact your utility company for information about these programs.
See contact numbers and links below for local utility companies.
Peoples Natural Gas
West Penn Power
Pennsylvania American Water H2O (Help to Others)
Applications for LIHEAP Crisis and LIHEAP Cash will NOT be handled by DHS in 2012-13.
Please visit the Pa. DPW Heating Assistance/LIHEAP information page to find links to the LIHEAP application, phone numbers and other helpful information.
LIHEAP has two different programs for families and individuals whose household income is not more than 150 percent the Federal Poverty Guidelines for a household of their size.
LIHEAP Cash, opens November 1, 2012, helps pay for utility bills during the late autumn and winter months. LIHEAP Cash does not require that the customer have past-due bills. Call 412-562-0330 or call the LIHEAP hotline weekdays - 1-866-857-7095.
LIHEAP Crisis, opens January 2, 2013, helps keep a crisis from happening. If a household is experiencing a heating emergency caused by the utility service to the home being turned off and locked, being without fuel, having broken heating equipment or leaking lines which must be fixed or replaced, LIHEAP Crisis can make a one-time payment to fix the problem. Information lines: 412-770-3677 or 412-770-3678
Apply online at COMPASS or by visiting one of the Allegheny County Assistance Offices or call numbers above.
Many area libraries have computers that can be used for free for 15 minutes. Find a library close to you.
Dollar Energy Fund ($1 Dollar Energy)
List of locations that offer assistance in the Dollar Energy application process
Individuals and families can also sign up for Dollar Energy programs between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. at the
Human Services Building
One Smithfield Street
Dollar Energy Guidelines
NOTE: When Pennsylvania’s federal programs are open (Nov. 1 for LIHEAP) applicants who are eligible for LIHEAP Cash or Crisis must apply for those programs before applying for a Dollar Energy Fund grant.
The Dollar Energy Fund is a non-profit program that helps consumers in two ways.
Dollar Energy Hardship Program helps pay heating bills for individuals and families whose household incomes do not exceed 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
Dollar Energy Fund also assists consumers sign up for various utility company programs to get help paying their utility bills. These Customer Assistance Programs benefit individuals and families whose household incomes do not exceed 150 percent of Federal Poverty Guidelines.
Winter Weather Tips
Keeping Warm When It's Cold Outside
It's important to maintain a healthy body temperature even when it's cold outside. Learn about hypothermia and how to avoid it.
Staying Warm and Safe this Winter
Provides an overview of heating assistance programs and hypothermia
Winter Storm Preparedness Tips
Suggestions about how individuals can plan ahead so their safety is not at risk during severe winter weather
Communications page from the DHS Community Referral Packet
Telephone, Internet, message help
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh offers home weatherization assistance for those who qualify.
Utility Assistance Chart
Includes information about public and private programs to help those in need stay safe in cold weather.
Utility Assistance page from the DHS Community Referral Packet