CHARLESTON, WV – This winter, you may be paying higher electricity and water bills. Here’s some places you can go if you find yourself struggling.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, nearly half of U.S. households that heat with electricity will spend six percent more and people who heat with propane will spend 54% more. West Virginia American Water is also requesting up to a 26% rate increase for water. So, what happens if you need help?
“We have a lot of clients coming in right now that are recovering from COVID that missed weeks of work and therefore weeks of pay and they’re behind on certain utilities and those are the cases that we really focus on helping,” John Roberts at Mountain Mission said.
Mountain Mission doesn’t just help with a single need.
“We help with food, clothing, different types of housing, furniture, people who have been burned out, flood, domestic violence, things like that,” Roberts said.
If they can’t help you, people can always call 211 for resources and information.
“It’s going to put you to the resource that just fits your need – so I’m having food insecurity so it’s going to put me at the nearest food pantry. I’m having difficulty paying my utility bill, whatever that may be, it’s going to point you to an agency that specializes in helping you pay those bills,” Kerri Cooper, Community Impact Director at United Way said.
People shouldn’t wait to ask for help.
“When you get that utility bill and you know in your belly that you can’t pay, it is to call that day. Don’t put it off. Don’t wait until they’re knocking on the door to shut off, whatever that is – call beforehand,” Cooper said.
“There’s always DHHR – they have different programs; the Mountaineer Utility Assistance Program is one place that people can start to make sure they’re directed in the right direction,” Roberts said.
United Way also has a quick guide with a list of resources in your area which can be found on their website.