COLORADO SPRINGS — A lot of people in Colorado have cranked up the heat this week to counter the extreme cold. Single digit temperatures in Colorado are unusual in October. It means additional expense on utility bills. "Having resources to pay for heating, utility bills cost is a huge issue in our community,” said Director of 2-1-1, Eric Barnett. Staying warm is more than some can afford.
"We have programs available to help people that have trouble paying their bills during this season," said Danielle Oller with Colorado Spring Utilties. For customers who qualify the HEAP program helps fund energy efficiency updates that result in money saved. For people facing a one-time crisis like a medical emergency, the program COPE can make sure the utility bill gets paid. Then there is federal help through the program LEAP. It is for households with limited income. LEAP applications start November 1st.
If the programs through utilities are not working it worth a call to 2-1-1. It is an information and referral service through Pikes Peak United Way. "We have a data base of over 2 thousand different services that are provided within our community," said Barnett. There are programs through government agencies and non-profit organization that may offer alternatives. "Definitely give us a call,” said Barnett, “Maybe we can help brainstorm. other ways to help support you and your family."