If you’re having trouble paying your utility bills, agencies in your area have programs that can help keep you warm in winter and cool in summer.
“The need is greater this year than ever before, simply due to the pandemic, an unexpected loss of jobs and illness,” said Cindy Givens, Duke Energy program manager. “People who've never experienced trouble paying their bills are finding themselves in need, and a lot of times they don't know where to go to get that assistance.”
Anyone in the country can contact the 2-1-1 referral service to find programs in their area. The agency said requests for food, housing and utility assistance have increased significantly. Since the pandemic, the number of people suffering food insecurity has increased to 50 million.
Community agencies and organizations partner with Duke Energy to work with eligible customers seeking help with their utility bills and distribute assistance funds.
Organizations working with Duke Energy to help with bills include Salvation Army in Ohio, the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission, Indiana Community Action Association, Greensboro Urban Ministry, Anderson Interfaith Ministries in South Carolina and United Way Suncoast in Florida.
The customer assistance programs are made possible by customer and employee donations and matched by Duke Energy in most jurisdictions. Last year the company contributed $3.1 million to the programs in the company’s service area. In the last five years, they contributed about $18 million in winter heating assistance. With the pandemic, more people are applying for help.
“A gift to these customer assistance programs, even as small as $1, helps improve the lives of seniors and families who struggle to pay their heating bills,” said Barbara Higgins, Duke Energy senior vice president and chief customer officer.
The company also matches contributions in most jurisdictions. Find out how you can donate at customer assistance funds.
“This may be something that lingers for them for years.” Givens said. “These may be folks who have never needed any help. They were always there to give and now they find themselves in a situation where they need help. It can happen to anyone. And I think this year showed that more than ever.”
How you can help
How you can donate in your region: customer assistance funds.
Where to turn if you need help
Duke Energy Carolinas: Share the Warmth
Duke Energy Progress: Energy Neighbor Fund
Call the CARELINE at 800.662.7030 for more information on eligibility and how to apply for assistance. Energy Neighbor Fund.
Duke Energy Florida: Energy Neighbor Fund
Duke Energy Indiana: Helping Hand
Indiana Community Action Association Energy Assistance Program (EAP) distributes the program dollars. EAP agencies will notify recipients if they are eligible for up to a $300 credit toward their electric bill. Contact your local agency for more information on eligibility and how to apply for assistance. Helping Hand.
Duke Energy Kentucky: WinterCare
WinterCare is administered by the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission (NKCAC). Eligible customers may receive assistance up to $300 as long as money is available. Contact The Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission for more information at 859.581.6607. WinterCare.
Duke Energy Ohio: HeatShare
HeatShare is administered by The Salvation Army. Eligible customers may apply for one-time annual assistance up to $400 through July 31 or until funds are depleted. Call your local agency for qualification details or visit HeatShare.