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CONSUMER GROUPS, UTILITIES, CITY, STATE AND FEDERAL OFFICIALS AND ENERGY ASSISTANCE GROUPS URGE LOW INCOME RESIDENTS TO APPLY FOR ENERGY AID

 PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 30 ~PRNewswire~ -- With blustery winds and bitter cold right around the corner, area residents are being urged to apply for energy assistance grants to keep their heat on this winter.
 At 11 a.m., today, representatives of community groups, local utilities, city, state and federal governments and energy assistance groups will "kick-off" the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) season at the Engine 16 Fire Station, located on Belmont Avenue at Viola Street, one block south of Parkside Avenue, in West Philadelphia.
 The kick-off event is being staged at a fire house to underscore the potential loss of life that occurs when residents of homes without heat or utility service resort to such measures as overloading circuits, putting portable heaters too close to furniture or curtains, improperly using kerosene heaters or illegally hooking up to energy sources.
 The 1992-93 heating season in Philadelphia has been dubbed "The Year of the Child" to recognize that those most vulnerable and often in need are children. Joining in the kick-off event will be a group of fourth grade students from the Leidy School who recently participated in a fire prevention program, at their school, located a block from Engine 16.
 The School District will announce that LIHEAP brochures, printed by PECO, will be distributed to all public school students in the next few weeks to help promote public awareness that heat help is available.
 Last year's average LIHEAP grant was $200. Grants vary according to family income and size of household. LIHEAP Hotline phone numbers are 800-34-HELP4, 215-684-6100 and 215-560-2970.
 Those scheduled to participate in the kick-off event include:
 -- Deputy School Superintendent Henry Altshuler
 -- Fire Commissioner Harold Hairston, and Deputy Chief Charles Lindsay, representing the Fire Deaths Prevention Committee
 -- Albert G. Mikalauskas, Vice President, Customer and Marketing Services, Philadelphia Electric Company
 -- Alfred Degen, Executive Vice President, Philadelphia Gas Works
 -- PUC Commissioner Wendell Holland
 -- Congressmen Lucien Blackwell and Curt Weldon
 -- State Senator Chaka Fattah
 -- State Representative Vincent Hughes
 -- City Controller Jonathan Saidel
 -- City Councilwomen Janie Blackwell and Happy Fernandez
 -- Allen Gilman, Director, LIHEAP-Philadelphia
 -- Ed Lynch, Director, Utility Emergency Services Fund (UESF)
 -- David Boonin, Executive Director, Philadelphia Gas Commission
 PECO and PGW are co-sponsoring efforts to publicize the low income energy assistance program through announcements on local radio stations, and with brochures, posters and billboards which feature a photo of three young children. LIHEAP billboards, printed in English and Spanish, will be posted throughout the area.
 All materials prominently display the LIHEAP information hotline numbers, 800-34-HELP4, 215-684-6100 and 215-560-2970.
 PECO said a residential survey of its service territory has revealed that there are still some 5,400 residences, with at least 1,000 of them occupied, without electricity as cold weather approaches.
 "It is alarming to us that so many residences are still without electricity as the winter approaches," said Albert G. Mikalauskas, PECO vice president for Customer and Marketing Services.
 "No one should be without electricity this winter. There are assistance programs and agreement terms available for eligible low income families. But they must apply. And that's where we need the help of everyone who knows any family in these circumstances. Please urge them to contact us," Mikalauskas said. "We want to help them."
 He said residents without electricity can call a PECO toll-free number, 1-800-34-HELP4 for help in applying for energy assistance, or they can call 215-841-4141 for assistance in working out a payment agreement to have their electricity turned on as the winter approaches.
 ~delval~
 -0- 11~30~92
 ~CONTACT: Steve Gary, 215-841-4127 or Carol Rath Gosser, 215-841-4126 both of Philadelphia Electric~
 (PE)


CO: Philadelphia Electric Company; Low Income Home Energy Assistance
 Program ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI SU:


JS -- PH003 -- 4029 11~30~92 09:09 EST
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Date:Nov 30, 1992
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