Foundation fund

Philly program will replace broken water heaters

The new fund’s income eligibility limit is designed to grab homeowners who don’t qualify for other utility or home repair assistance programs with lower limits.

“I raised that threshold 300% to get what we call ‘rock and a hard place’ people, who are supposed to make too much money,” Luxton said. “But the reality is that they don’t make too much money. Leave me alone.”

The ECA will start by installing new gas water heaters, but Luxton is hoping to secure additional funding to install electric ones, to help the city meet its climate goals. Luxton said it is seeking funding from foundations, corporations and government grants.

Replacing water heaters is an undermet need in the city, said Emily Schapira, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Energy Authority.

“We are very excited” about the new ECA fund, she said.

Schapira’s organization, which is lead a program to coordinate home repairs, energy efficiency and clean energy services for low-income homeowners frequently encounter households without hot water. She said the Philadelphia Energy Authority may be able to support ECA’s new water heater fund with “last resort” money for people who don’t qualify.