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WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA GAS COMPANIES URGE CUSTOMERS TO APPLY FOR ENERGY ASSISTANCE CRISIS PROGRAM

 PITTSBURGH, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The second phase of Pennsylvania's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), known as the Crisis portion, opened Wednesday, Jan. 5, for individuals and families who need help paying their gas bills, announced western Pennsylvania's major natural gas companies, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Equitable Gas Co. and The Peoples Natural Gas Co. The program was originally slated to open Jan. 14; however, Gov. Robert Casey requested the Department of Public Welfare to move up the starting date.
 Funds are limited, and eligible individuals should apply immediately. Crisis will close no later than March 15; however, funds are limited and may run out sooner than that date.
 Crisis grants of up to $250 are available to individuals and families who meet household income eligibility requirements and their total gas bills are at least $350 after receiving a regular LIHEAP grant and subtraction of their current month's billing, or are in need of heating equipment repair.
 Individuals are eligible if their annual income is less than $9,409 (or $784 per month). That amount increased by $3,321 (or $277 per month) for each additional person in the household.
 Information about the Crisis program is available from Columbia, Equitable or Peoples gas companies.
 When applying for Crisis funds, applicants should present:
 -- A recent gas bill;
 -- The names and proofs of income for all persons living in
 the household; and
 -- The Social Security numbers of all persons in the household.
 Crisis grants do not have to be paid back, and no lien is placed on the homes or property of those who receive assistance.
 Last winter more than 358,000 Pennsylvanians received LIHEAP I funds, and 143,000 received additional funds from the LIHEAP Crisis fund.
 -0- 1/6/94
 /CONTACT: Rosemary Martinelli of Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, 412-344-9800; Mike Stack of Equitable Gas Company, 412-553-5808; or Elmore Lockley of Peoples Natural Gas Company, 412-392-2467/


CO: Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania; Equitable Gas Co.; The Peoples
 Natural Gas Co. ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI SU:


DM -- PG019 -- 9801 01/06/94 13:31 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 6, 1994
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