HRDC offering help on power bills with Energy Share
Last updated 11/18/2020 at 12:15pm
With colder weather already hitting and more expected in the coming months, officials are telling people about programs that could help them with their power bills.
Particularly in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic and layoffs, quarantines and isolation orders, some people are having trouble making ends meet and power bills is one of the problems for them.
A release said most people may not think twice when turning up the furnace to deal with colder weather, but 15 percent — three out of 20 people someone might see on the road — have to think carefully about turning up their furnace and the expense it causer.
Energy Share helps Montanans who are facing home energy emergencies, the release said. Since July, 50 percent of the emergencies it has helped with include circumstances related to COVID-19.
Other issues families face are unexpected expenses, deaths in the family, non-working or unsafe heating systems, illnesses or injuries, domestic abuse situations and loss of employment or reduced wages.
If people or someone they know are struggling to make ends meet, the release said, they should first apply for LIEAP and then Energy Share.
LIEAP is a federally-funded energy assistance program.
Applications for both programs are available at District 4 Human Resources Development Council in Havre at 2229 Fifth Ave., 4265-6743, website http://www.hrdc4.org .
People should make sure they let the people at the HRDC know what their situation is, if they have a past due or disconnect notice from their energy provider or if their propane or oil tank is low.
One family helped by Energy Share last year was an elderly, disabled woman and her son who were relying on Social Security Supplemental Security Income as their only revenue stream while the son was looking for work, the release said. Then their car broke down and they were completely out of propane to heat their home. Energy Share helped them get propane and stay warm until he found a job.
Energy Share relies on donations to help people who are facing energy emergencies, the release said. One hundred percent of private donations are used to help someone in need.
People who would like to donate to the program can visit https://www.energysharemt.com/donate-now or look for a pledge card/donation envelope in their November utility bill.
They also can mail a check to Energy Share of Montana, P.O. Box 5959, Helena, MT 59604-5959.
Mark Vinger, Energy Share Board President and Montana-Dakota Utilities representative on the board, said he strongly supports Energy Share.
“Energy Share helps about 2,500 Montanans a year who are facing rough times,” he said. “If you or someone you know needs help please check with the HRDC. If you can, send a gift to Energy Share today and help share the warmth.”