Low Income Energy Assistance Program

June 10, 2009 6:29:39 PM PDT
The Valley's high unemployment rate means many families are having a tough time paying their energy bills. And as the weather heats up ... the situation will only get worse. Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission received additional funding this year to help low-income families ... and the thousands who are now unemployed. So they want to get the word out ... that help is available.

Outside Bingo Market near Blackstone and Belmont ... Fresno County EOC workers are offering customers a "discount" of sorts, on their energy bills.

They're signing people up for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program.

EOC received 7.2 million dollars in stimulus funding this year, 5 million dollars more than last year ... to help families having a tough time paying for their electricity, gas, wood or propane bills.

"In the last 2 and half months we served over 4000 low income homes, we still have about 16000 to go ... and we still have all this money."

The goal is to reach and help 20,000 families ... so, EOC is setting up booths at the Fulton Mall Farmers Market ... all over the county.

Those who qualify will receive anywhere from $240 to $390 dollars a year.

"So even if a family comes in with a 50 dollar bill and they get approved because their need is for 390, so that credit can cover them for 3-4 months."

EOC also received additional monies to provide weatherization services.

"This light, most likely we're going to switch the light to a more energy efficient hard wire fixture."

Energy specialists like Joaquin Garcia visit homes looking for any areas or appliances that are wasting energy.

"We give them a list of appliances, of what they have in the house and what its costing them so they have a better idea of what are some of the habits we all have," said Garcia.

The program covers weather stripping and insulation; they fix or replace water heaters and air conditioning units ... and even replace old refrigerators. Changes that Garcia says can save families up to 20% on their energy bill.

"Everything that we can do for the customer to try to save them energy, if we save them energy, we save them money," said Garcia.

EOC can also help if you've received a 48-hour shut-off notice from your energy company.

      |   For more information or to apply, you can call 559-263-1135   |

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