LIHEAP Energy Assistance Program Extended Until February 29; Gas Companies Urge Eligible Customers to Apply Now

Feb 01, 2000, 00:00 ET from Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania

    PITTSBURGH, Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The application deadline for The Low
 Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has been extended one month to
 Feb. 29 and local gas companies are urging eligible customers to apply.
 LIHEAP is a federally funded program created to help those families in need
 with assistance in paying their heating bills.  The deadline, originally
 scheduled to close on Jan. 29, was extended due to the recent cold weather
 conditions.  Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Equitable Gas and the Peoples
 Natural Gas Company are reminding eligible customers that funds are limited
 and customers should apply as soon as possible.  Tuesday, Feb. 29 is the new
 deadline for customers to apply for the LIHEAP funds.  LIHEAP was originally
 scheduled to close on Jan. 28.
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     The LIHEAP grant is not a loan or a welfare payment, instead it is applied
 directly to the customers' gas bills.  In order to qualify, a customer's
 household income must be within certain guidelines.  LIHEAP has benefited
 thousands of southwestern Pennsylvania families over the past two decades.
     Last year more than 200,000 Pennsylvania families benefited from LIHEAP.
 Most lived in households that faced substantial challenges:  one-third of them
 included an elderly individual; 16 percent had a member who was disabled;
 one-quarter had small children, and more than 71 percent had incomes under
 $9,000 per year.
     Customers can call their gas company's toll-free phone number for more
 information about the LIHEAP program:
     -- Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania      1-800-272-2714
     -- Equitable Gas Company             1-800-644-8090
     -- Peoples Natural Gas               1-800-400-WARM (9276)
     Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania is a unit of the Columbia Energy Group
 (NYSE:   CG) and serves over 382,000 customers in 26 counties.  Equitable Gas
 Company is the distribution utility of Equitable Resources and serves over
 257,000 residential customers in Pennsylvania in Allegheny, Westmoreland,
 Greene, Washington, Butler, Indiana and Armstrong counties.  Peoples Gas --
 the Pennsylvania distribution utility of Dominion Resources, Inc. -- provides
 natural gas service to more than 348,000 residential, commercial and
 industrial customers in 16 counties in southwestern Pennsylvania.

SOURCE Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania