Energy Assistance Program Slashed

People who have received assistance to pay for high energy bills in the past could be left out in the cold this year due to a funding shortage.

The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program in our state has been revamped, affecting all one hundred counties.

Last year in Pitt County more than $1.1 million was allotted to the program. It has been cut down to $276,864 this year to help low income families get a one-time payment on their electric bills.

The application process usually starts on November 1st, but this year it will begin a month later, with only those 60-years-old and older, and the disabled allowed to apply first for the funds.

Gwen Burns of the deputy director of social services for Pitt County and says, "This year there is not automatic eligibility. Everyone will have to apply and then heating assistance checks will no longer be sent to the person who applies to the check, it will be sent directly to the vendor, whoever their heating service is."

Those who are not on the priority application process can apply February 1st, if there are funds still available.

There is still a crisis intervention program to assist families.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Anonymous Location: Bertie on Oct 25, 2011 at 06:31 AM
    Do you heat by wood? Do you know anybody disabled or old? Do you think they should chop wood so they can stay warm? Or are you like buy a blanket person and think that is all they need to stay warm? Let's be for real people when we comment.
  • by wwaahhhhhh, bboo hoooo on Oct 25, 2011 at 05:15 AM
    The same people who get all types of public assistance are the ones who whine about losing one. They get public housing, power help, phone help, food help and free cell phones all of which the tax payers provide with a frown-err smile. guess what people who say there are no jobs, go to the employment security comission, look on line and walk around, there are jobs out there, look and get one, be useful!!!!!
  • by Ashley on Oct 25, 2011 at 03:46 AM
    Something else people could do without? Cable. one cable bill would pay for an energy bill. It's about time the right things are getting slashed from the budget.
    • reply
      by Cable / DirecTV on Oct 25, 2011 at 07:27 AM in reply to Ashley
      I haven't had cable or DirecTV in 8 years. Since the digital TV switch, we've been happy as clams with our selection of channels. That's $60 per month we've saved. Of course, we did have to buy a new HDTV and install an outdoor antenna, but that $1000 purchace has served us well.
  • by Barbara on Oct 25, 2011 at 03:43 AM
    I am glad to see that the payments will be made directly to the vendor and no longer to the person who applies for the assistance. I'm also glad to see the disabled and the elderly being put first. People, this is only the beginning--things are going to get real tight before it's all over with--the money is just not there anymore.
  • by Commentors... on Oct 25, 2011 at 12:59 AM
    If you're commenting on this board, you probably have internet access. You might have to go without it this winter. (another luxury we've gotten use to that didn't exist 20 years ago)
    • reply
      by Needs on Oct 25, 2011 at 04:18 AM in reply to Commentors...
      Yep. Every young guy walking the streets seems to be on a cell phone, usually with a bluetooth headset. Wonder what they need those for?
  • by gi joe Location: belhaven on Oct 24, 2011 at 11:54 PM
    some people really need the help i am glad most of youll have jobs pay bills on time, eat what ever were ever you like but for some that cant pay there bills on time.with No job and got to beg for help to eat for my son to have lights to do his homework and for me to serve this country and to hear youll talk like this May God bless you just THINK if it was you what would you do if you cant do nothing
  • by Dave Location: enc on Oct 24, 2011 at 09:04 PM
    Plenty of trees down in the storm. Get out there and earn your firewood for the winter. May even help a neighbor out in the process. Imagine that!
  • by Tyrone on Oct 24, 2011 at 07:11 PM
    BOO Hoo!!! Waaaaaaaaaah. I needs free stuff to live. what I'm gone do now?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Oct 25, 2011 at 03:24 AM in reply to Tyrone
      What goes around, comes around. I wish I can be there when it happens to YOU.
  • by Buy a blanket on Oct 24, 2011 at 07:07 PM
    If you have children, you should have planned your family better. Nest Eggs are way under-rated.
  • by DR Location: Greenville on Oct 24, 2011 at 06:10 PM
    Some people will have to give up a few cigs and beer to stay warm.
    • reply
      by Hahaha! on Oct 24, 2011 at 07:02 PM in reply to DR
      I know that's right!
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