Federal aid helps families fight skyrocketing utility bills
Temperatures are dropping, and it's starting to feel like winter. That also means homeowners will start to see energy bills rising.
Last February, Liz Cagle faced an all too common situation.
"I would get these bills in the mail and just be like 'I'm going to wait to open this a few days because it's going to be rough,’” she said.
When the weather changed, her energy bills skyrocketed. After a call to the city, she got life-changing help.
"Last year we helped about 6,000 families with their energy bills with funds we had available. We're looking to do that again this year,” Rachel Howard, with the Office of Family Empowerment, said.
The OFE helped Cagle apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. LIHEAP gives people federal funds to help pay their bills.
"This was one of those things that just took care of that one small issue,” Cagle said.
At Chattanooga Gas, calls about high bills are already rolling into the office.
"I talked to a young lady today whose husband just lost his job. They're just looking for help to pay for their utility bill,” Regional Director of Operations Paul Leath said.
Chattanooga Gas says they'll connect customers with the right resources, including applications for LIHEAP.
"We want all of our customers to be warm,” Leath said.
This year at Cagle's home, dropping temperatures and opening bills aren't so scary. She knows her bills won't leave her out in the cold.
"Now it's like, I open it, stick it on the fridge, and it's like 'OK, 60 dollars that's not that bad,’” she said.
The Office of Family Empowerment has more information about applying for LIHEAP at Chattanooga.gov. Chattanooga Gas also has tips for home improvements that can reduce your bills on their website.
For more energy-saving tips, you can visit the Chattanoog Gas website.