Water/Sewer Line Repair Fund for Low-Income Households: Selection Criteria for Philadelphia Energy Authority Referral

The Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) administers the Water and Sewer Line Protection Program in partnership with American Water Resources (AWR). This program allows property owners to purchase low cost proactive coverage of their exterior water and sewer lines. PEA has set up a support fund for low-income households who need a water or sewer line repair or replacement but have either not enrolled in the program or have not reached their Effective Date (30 days after initial enrollment). 

This funding is intended as a last resort if other options, such as the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) HELP loan, are unaffordable or inaccessible. 

Qualifying households will meet all the following criteria. For assistance verifying qualifications, contact Josie B. H. Pickens at the Community Legal Services Energy Unit: jpickens@clsphila.org 215-227-4378. 

1. The household must own or be responsible for the affected property. 

2. The household must not be enrolled in an existing protection program (e.g., 

AWR or HomeServe). If already enrolled in an existing program, the household should file a claim with the provider. 

3. The household must have received a Notice of Defect (NOD) from PWD or obtained an estimate from a registered plumber indicating the needed repairs. 

4. If the household has received an NOD or has a defect causing sewage flow into the home, then the household must not qualify for expedited services from the Basic Systems Repair Program (BSRP), or for services available through the Utility Emergency Services Fund (UESF). Households that qualify for BSRP or for services through UESF should apply for emergency repairs through that program or service. Guidelines and applications for BSRP are available here: http://ohcdphila.org/home-repair/bsrp/. 

5. The household must satisfy one of the following two need-based standards: 

a. The household’s monthly income does not exceed 250% of the 

Federal Poverty Level (FPL), as shown in the table below. 

Number of Household Members 

Annual Income Monthly Income 

1 $ 31,225 $ 2,602.08 2 $ 42,275 $ 3,522.92 3 $ 53,325 $ 4,443.75 4 $ 64,375 $ 5,364.58 5 $ 75,425 $ 6,285.42 6 $ 86,475 $ 7,206.25 7 $ 97,525 $ 8,127.08 8 $ 108,575 $ 9,047.92 For each additional member $ 11,050 $ 920.83 

Note that some consideration could be given to households with income narrowly exceeding the expense thresholds based on the estimated cost of repairs. 

b. A representative of a Housing Counseling Agency or non-profit legal 

services provider provides a written statement indicating that the household can save the home from foreclosure (e.g., through mortgage modification, OOPA, etc.), but either: 

i. Cannot bear the added expense of paying for the necessary 

repairs, or 

ii. Would risk additional exposure to foreclosure or loss of the 

home if a HELP loan lien is imposed.

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