Locals Seek Assistance for Increased Utility Bills
It's the beginning of a brutal winter, meaning higher energy use, and electric bills. Today, CWL recorded the highest rate of energy usage in winter history.
"We set a new all-time winter peak this morning at 8am, of 275 megawatts," says CWL Special Projects Administrator Kevan Inboden. "Definitely with these types of usages, our customers, and customers across this region are going to see higher utility bills."
Local agencies like Crowley's Ridge Development Council are providing ways to help residents decrease those costs. CRDC began taking applications for the annual low-income home energy assistance program. It offers a one-time fixed payment toward a gas, electric or propane bill.
Casey Kidd is CRDC's HR Director, and says "It's regular assistance, depending on their household income, and their household size."
The low-income home energy assistance program is available in eight counties across the state, including Craighead, Green, Jackson and Poinsett. CRDC directors expect the need for federal assistance will be higher this year, than in previous years.
"We do mail out applications to our seniors, and or disabled individuals, and those who receive SNAP benefits, and we have received thousands of those." Kidd says, "Probably close to three thousand or more."
Residents must meet federal poverty guidelines to be eligible. Those that don't quality for federal utility assistance, can discuss other options for lowering bills with utility providers.
"We offer levelized billing, which allows our customers to pay the same each month," says Inboden, "and take out those peaks and valleys that they would see in the summer and winter."
With temperatures a lot lower this year, engineers project many more customers will hop on board.