Programs offer heat-bill help

Qualified Puget Sound Energy customers can get help with their heating bills this winter, thanks to programs of the utility and the federal government.

A combined total of $29 million in low-income assistance will be available to PSE electricity and natural-gas customers in Washington state.

“More families than ever are struggling through these challenging economic times,” said Bert Valdman, executive vice president and chief operating officer for PSE.

“These programs are designed to help keep customers in need warm this winter,” he said.

PSE’s Home Energy Lifeline Program (HELP) will provide almost $15 million to customers in its 11-county state service area, and the federal government’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will provide another $14 million.

Depending on income and household size, a qualified low-income recipient can receive as much as $1,000 from PSE’s HELP and as much as $1,000 in LIHEAP bill assistance.

Through the programs it funds in the state, LIHEAP is expected to provide $81 million in energy assistance.

Last winter, more than 30,000 PSE customers were assisted by the two programs.

For information, South End customers can contact PSE’s customer service office in Freeland

at 331-3060, or call the Island County Opportunity Council at 360-679-6577 or toll-free at 866-223-5425.

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