Paying Power Bills
No matter where you stand on the climate change debate, we can all agree that the current state of things isn't the best. As we continue to have hotter summers and bigger wildfires; it seems every year new records are set.
Consequently, our energy sources take a hit. We see increases in the cost of using energy and running water at home. Energy efficiency becomes more important so we can stretch the resources we have available and our hard-earned dollars.
We often worry about the increase in our power bills when the seasons reach their peaks. In the last year we have seen what happens to power grids when they are pushed too far in extreme weather. In Northern California we will no doubt see another large shift in energy use due to the wildfires currently burning and anyone displaced because of them.
Situations like this are exactly what LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) is designed to help with. Through the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021, LIHEAP received $4.5 billion dollars in supplemental funding to help in providing payments. Butte CAA received an additional allocation of funding from ARPA to support our efforts to respond to the needs of our community’s residents.
Our neighbors who are low-income have limited options when it comes to cooling options. Their situation becomes further complicated because of changing CDC guidelines concerning COVID and smokey air. The combination of not being able to seek help outside the home and living on a fixed income can make our houses become dangerous traps.
We can improve the livelihoods of our community members by installing insulation, fixing drafty windows, upgrading appliances and more. The program is designed to help homes become more energy efficient and safe for the inhabitants. We encourage you to reach out and see if you qualify for help.
LIHEAP has been crucial in protecting the vulnerable among us, those ages 5 and under and 60 and over. These populations are particularly sensitive to extreme heat and cold.
The assistance this program provides helps free families and the elderly from having to choose between food, medicine, other essentials, or their power bill.
Statistics on LIHEAP
- 1/3rd of the houses this program helps have at least one child under the age of 18.
- 4 out of 5 of the households helped are surviving on less than $20,000 a year, and many are on fixed incomes.
- 90% of homes have at least one elderly person or child, and over 50% have a person with a disability.
- This summer 1 in 3 Americans were expected to face a 10% increase in their utility bill, not counting the natural increase that comes with upped usage during the season.
- We also know that a quarter of those who lost their jobs have reported skipping or needing to skip a utility payment.
- The current funding is still only enough to service one-fifth of eligible households.
Serving Your Community
Your Butte CAA maximizes the assistance of LIHEAP to the benefit or your community. We help reduce the cost of energy bills, by insulating homes and replacing old appliances with energy efficient ones. We also help families get enrolled in a Utility Assistance program that can often be the extra financial help that allows a family to have a full belly and safe shelter instead of making them choose.
This is a short testimony of a Butte County resident who we were able to help:
To Everyone at Community Action Agency,
This has been a very heartfelt joy to find an organization like this to help us seniors who now are on a fixed income. Thank you so much for assistance in getting my new HVAC system as well as wood to decrease my utility bills.
The amazing thing about the LIHEAP program is that it helps so many people in various financial and life situations in such a variety of ways. It’s like the social service equivalent of an interchangeable screwdriver, which can be used on a multitude of projects with different settings for each.
You never know when you or someone close to you is going to fall on hard times, or is struggling on their fixed income. We are glad to be able to help others secure and improve their most basic need of shelter. Let us know if you need help, or if you’d like to help by donating through the link below.
Since 1967, the Community Action Agency of Butte County has been serving the needs of the region in alignment with the charter of the National Community Action Agencies overarching goal: To alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty by whatever means necessary in your community. As Butte County CAA, we provide hope to people struggling with poverty to become more self-sustaining by meeting tangible needs in the areas of energy savings, affordable food, and housing. Connect with us to find out how you can get involved.