West Virginians struggling with utility bills with little government help

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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — With limited grant money to help residents pay bills like water and electricity, many residents who are struggling are worried they will be left in the cold.

“I just never been in this situation…and it’s hard,” said Etta Kiser of Mingo County.

Many West Virginians are struggling to pay bills for the first time. Etta Kiser is a single mom and family caretaker who is currently on unemployment.

“We were dealing with covid, you’re trying to homeschool your kid, and you had to have internet,” said Kiser.

Kiser did not receive any government assistance for her utility bills, but she did receive something else.

“I even got a disconnect notice. And they did…they turned peoples water off,” said Kiser.

Kermit Water and Sewer have threatened to shut off service if her bill is not paid up, but she needs help.

Governor Jim Justice said in his briefing today help from the government is on it’s way.

“But there is money on the way…there is money for utility,” Said Gov. Justice, (R) West Virginia.

November 12th was the last day West Virginians could apply for utility bill assistance through the CARES Act. Since that money is now gone, local organizations are stepping up and doing their best to help.

And the need has been overwelming.

“A huge increase in individuals needing help with their utility bills,” said Kerri Cooper with the United Way of Central West Virginia.

The United Way has helped hundreds of people in the community with what they could give.

“They have lost their job, they have had their hours reduced. Their electric is still on, their water is still on, but they need help paying that bill to maintain it,” said Cooper.

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