The end of the week seemed like a heat wave compared to temperatures on Monday and Tuesday but the frigid air can still be felt in this month’s heating bill.
“To think that you can’t warm up your children, keep food cold in the refrigerator, be able to cook for them it’s definitely scary,” said Ivena Cobb who’s heating bill doubled this month and she now can’t afford to pay the bill.
Cobb was at risk for her electricity being cut off so she turned to the Community Action Council and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, LI-HEAP, to help her pay the bill.
“If people start getting shut off notices they come to us and we help keep the heat on,” said Charlie Lanter, manager of program development at the Community Action Council.
The Community Action Council gets about $1.3 million dollars for LI-HEAP. It’s already given out about $600,000 dollars with the recent cold snap causing higher than normal electric bills.
“We’ve been seeing as many as 250, 260, up to close to 300 a day, where as I checked this same week last year we were seeing about 150,” said Lanter.
For someone to qualify for LI-HEAP they must be low income and have a shut-off notice from the electric company.
“It looks like we will probably go through the end of February until the funds are exhausted but that’s hard to predict because we’ve not had a winter quite like this one in sometime,” said Lanter.
“People did whatever they had to do to try and keep themselves warm and stay warm when these temperatures were down around zero and below,” said Cliff Feltham, spokesman for Kentucky Utilities.
For those who don’t qualify for LI-HEAP but aren’t sure they can pay their electric bill this month, KU wants to hear about it.
“Talk to us, let us know because there are things that we can do as a company to help you kind of work out a payment arraignment so that you can get the bill paid,” said Feltham.
KU offers an online energy analysis and will audit homes to help find ways for it to be more energy efficient.