Tenants and homeowners with health problems who are unable to pay their utility bills may request a “medical certificate” from their gas, electric or water company to keep their service on. Medical certificates are only able to keep service on for a limited time, so that individuals can apply for financial assistance programs like LIHEAP, USEF, DEFA, CAP, CRP, TAP, and negotiate payment plans if needed.

To apply for a time-limited medical certificate, the tenant’s health care provider must complete a medical certification form OR provide the following information:

1. The name and address of the customer or applicant in whose name the account is registered.

2. The name and address of the patient and the relationship to the customer or applicant.

3. The anticipated length of the affliction/medical condition

4. The name, office address, and telephone number of the certifying physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner.

5. Signature of the certifying physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner.

Additional information about utility financial assistance programs and preventing utility service shutoffs by PWD, PGW, and PECO are available at:


PDPH Advisory - Medical Certifications to Prevent Residential Utility Service Shutoffs

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) supports use of medical certifications to prevent utility shutoffs and to restore service in any situation in which a patient’s physical or mental well-being could be compromised by losing gas, electricity, or water service. Medical certifications provide protection for 30 days and can be renewed for an additional 30 days. Paired with referrals to longer-lasting assistance, medical certifications can prevent many adverse medical consequences

The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) and PECO all use this standard: The determination about whether a consumer or member of the household has a serious illness or a medical condition that will be worsened if there is a loss of utility service at the residence resides entirely with the physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant and not with the utility.

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Standard Medical Certificate Form

To Be Completed By The Physician, Nurse Practitioner, or Physician’s Assistant

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