HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Nearly 750,000 residential accounts are facing utility shut-offs according to a Thursday report from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC).

PUC says the number of at-risk residents has declined in recent months but the past-due balance remains around $664 million, compared to more than $856 million reported earlier this year.

Of that population, nearly 68,000 small businesses across the state are at-risk of termination, down from almost 90,000 past-due accounts in Oct. 2020.

But the commission stressed options for assistance, stating “In addition to extended payment plans, the PUC noted that millions of dollars in financial assistance is currently available from utilities and various supplemental programs.”

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According to PUC, the households of greatest concern include:

  • Utility customers experiencing financial difficulty for the first time and unaware of the resources available or the process for requesting assistance.
  • Households that did not qualify for assistance in the past, because of higher incomes, but may now be eligible because of the financial impact of the pandemic.
  • CAP customers who have not renewed their assistance plan enrollment – risking removal from those programs.
  • Individuals who may qualify for “rent and utility assistance” available through counties across Pennsylvania.
  • Households who qualify for LIHEAP financial assistance but did not apply for seasonal or supplemental aid.

Consumers can contact Pennsylvania’s “211” system by dialing 211, or by visiting www.pa211.org for information and resources on utilities, housing, food, employment and more.