Local families get help heating their homes - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/8/10

Local families get help heating their homes

By Tiffany Pelt - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Local families unable to pay for their electric and gas bills are getting help from utility companies and their customers. With temperatures dropping and electric bills raising more people are getting hit hard with choices to make.

"Our most fragile in our society have such a huge decision to make at this time of the year, and especially when it's this cold and that's whether to heat or to eat," said Neighborhood House Program Director Joy Loper.

Neighborhood House is just one of the local agencies giving assistance to those who can't pay their bills and they just received a $10,000 donation from Atmos Energy's Share the Warmth Program.

Atmos receives around $60,000 in customer contributions, and after Atmos matches that, nearly $120,000 is given to families who need help paying for their heat.

"Customers on the back of their gas bill when they get their statement each month, they can flip it over and a customer that can afford to do so can contribute an extra dollar, two dollars, five dollars, or write in an amount," said Atmos Energy Public Affairs Director Dan Alderson. Customers also have the option to round up their bill each month.

LP&L also has a similar program called Project Helping Hand, and South Plains Co-op's program is Operation Round Up. Families can also call 211 to get help with their bills and to find out if they qualify for winterization assistance.

There are also some things you can do to cut back on your energy bill. For every degree you turn your thermostat down you save about 10% on your energy consumption, saving you some money on your heating bill.

Making sure your air filters are clean can make a big difference too.

"If the air filter has never been cleaned it's working harder using more energy just to get the same amount of heat out of the system," said Alderson. Also check all appliances and make sure your attic has adequate insulation.

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