Utility companies in Pennsylvania can begin turning off services for delinquent customers.

On April 1, the moratorium that protected low-income families from shutoffs will be lifted.

From now until November 30, energy companies are able to disconnect customers for non-payment.

According to Penelec spokesman Todd Myers, there are several programs available for those who are struggling to pay their bills.

This year, Pennsylvania received a record $480 million for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.

LIHEAP is a federally funded program that provides homeowners and renters with grants to help pay their heating bills.

Grants range from $500.00 to $1,200.00 and the money is given directly to utility companies to avoid shutoffs.

Customers can also apply for $500.00 grants through the Dollar Energy Fund.

Myers encourages anyone who is financially struggling to take advantage of the assistance.

"They should never be embarrassed because the last thing we want to do is have to send someone a disconnection notice,” said Myers. “There are so many programs out there, income-based programs that can help get part of that bill paid, and if your income doesn't meet those guidelines, we can always negotiate payment plans."

For more information on both programs, visit:

This story is supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.