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. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19981111/PHW017 ) 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