Agencies that help pay utility bills need help themselves - WSMV Channel 4

Agencies that help pay utility bills need help themselves

Posted: Updated:
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

With temperatures in the 90s, this week's heat can be downright oppressive. But for some people, there's one thing even more unbearable: Their monthly power bill.

Customers are already asking for help paying their summer utility bills, and that's earlier than normal.

Combine that with this year's frigid winter, and it's a crisis situation for many nonprofits that help the elderly and the poor.

"We see so many different kinds of people - people with small children, the elderly, people who are insulin-dependent or have to have medication refrigerated," said Ashley Byrd with Needlink.

Needlink takes the money donated by Nashville Electric Service customers each month and places it in the hands of those on the brink of being cut off at the worst possible time.

"We've seen our numbers double, if not triple, with the amount of requests, especially with the really cold winter that we had," Byrd said. "And we're still seeing February, March bills that maybe NES gave extensions on."

Unfortunately, Needlink is only able to help about a third of the 600 or so people who call or come by each month, and they're not the only ones struggling on the heels of a long and brutal winter.

"Initially, back in March, we ran out of funding. But we did get some additional funding that will help us with the applications that we have on hand and those are coming in," said Lisa McCrady with the Metro Action Commission.

Though the Metro Action Commission has funding to help people for now, its air conditioner program is not as robust. Usually it has dozens of units ready to hand out. But as of Wednesday, it had exactly 20.

"Once we give away those 20, we may be in jeopardy of not having any air conditioners. So we really would appreciate donations from the community," McCrady said.

In fact, if the community doesn't pitch in, the doors at the Metro Action Commission could soon be closed for the season.

"The high winter bills have kind of skewed everything," McCrady said.

The Salvation Army is also in bad shape this month. Its funding has already run out, and officials won't be accepting applications for July for another week.

For a full list of agencies that can help, visit the NES website: http://nespower.com.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow
WSMV
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2014, WSMV; Nashville, TN. (A Meredith Corporation Station) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.