New COVID relief bill incudes help with utility bills for Pennsylvania residents in need

Thousands of Pennsylvania families are struggling to keep the lights and heat on this winter.

The latest federal COVID relief bill includes an extension of assistance programs for utility costs like LIHEAP.

In addition to a moratorium on winter shutoffs, Pennsylvania Utility Commission Chair Gladys Brown Dutrieuille says there other hardship programs available, such as "the utility payment plan to address past due balances," said Dutrieuille. She said there is also "budget billing to help prevent a large month-to-month swing in the size of bills."

Her office is also encouraging utility companies to be lenient with customers who fall behind on bills.