November 30, 2005
Each year on December 1st, thousands of people line up at May Park to get help from the CSRA Energy Assistance Program. But this year, things will be different. Officials are telling people to stay home tomorrow because the program is out of money. But News 12 is on your side with some other ways to get help.
CSRA Energy Assistance receives about $624,000 each year. Each family gets between $174-$220 for the season. But here’s the problem, Energy Assistance has already spent $500,000 and Thursday is the day to apply for home heating help. That means some folks are going to be left out in the cold.
It’s a winter routine for Nancy Kay, the curtains come down, the lights come off and the blankets come on.
“I’m very worried this coming winter, especially if we have another ice storm,” Nancy Kay said.
The Harlem woman is already getting the shivers after she was told by the CSRA Energy Assistance Program that there’s no money available for those who qualify for the financial help. Nancy herself is disabled and on a fixed income.
“Seems like there needs to be some sort of control. They need to have some sort of cap on how much they can raise the prices and charge people,” Kay said.
So for those answering phones at the office, it’s like a broken record, telling callers like Nancy the $300 they’ve grown accustomed to getting is simply not there.
“To be honest with you, we’re in the hole. We are requesting additional funds now from the state so hopefully they’ll get an answer back as soon as possible,” said Patricia Johnson, CSRA Energy Assistance.
In the meantime, they Kay family remains in the dark, not knowing whether or not they’ll have ot stay with friends this winter.
“You know, if you can’t afford one hundred percent of your electric bill they need to be able to work something out with you,” Kay said.
Working it out is what the company plans to do as callers continue getting more heated about their bills.
“But we are fighting and we are requesting additional funding from the state so we will be able to assist them,” Johnson said.
And there are ways for you to get help. CSRA Energy Assistance still has money for people who heat their homes with natural gas. You can call them at 1-866-722-4347. And Georgia Power, SCE&G and the Salvation Army can also help out. You can any of their offices for more information.