South Alabama may not have been crippled by the February snow and ice storms like its neighbors to the west, but with temperatures below freezing for so many days, many can expect to get hit hard with higher than normal power bills.
Peak time for Baldwin EMC is summertime when tourism is at its highest and air conditioners work to keep homes cool in the August heat. That doesn’t mean those who live here weren’t close to their own peak power consumption last week as heaters worked overtime to warm their homes.
“With this storm we did see a much higher peak than normal and that does equate, you know to higher power bills for the member, but we try and work with each member through a situation,” said Mark Ingram with Baldwin EMC.
For some folks, programs through Baldwin EMC like “levelized billing” or “operation round up” is enough. For others, a high power bill can wreak havoc on tight budgets. That’s where Community Action Agency (CAA) of South Alabama can help. Rosetta Pender leads the organization and its 60 employees whose mission is to help others. She heard from plenty of those in need right after the cold snap.
“What we find is after we had those few nights of cold, below freezing temperatures, our phones were just ringing off the hook. You know, ‘Can you help? Can you help? What do I need to do to get in?’ What we tell people is call and make an appointment. Let us do an assessment on you and let us determine if we can or cannot help you, but don’t shy away from calling us,” Pender said.
Serving seven counties, including Baldwin, CAA receives funding from federal, state and local sources to help families overcome a variety of financial hurdles. One of the biggest is power bills. Last year alone, CAA of South Alabama gave out three-million-dollars in power bill assistance. Pender said more people are eligible for assistance that realize it.
“Don’t just get so caught up on what I think I need. Let us help you determine what your needs are and determine what we can help you with because if you’re out of work and say your utility bill’s a hundred dollars and we give you a hundred dollars but you’ve got a mortgage that’s a thousand, we need to be talking about how to get your mortgage paid as well,” Pender explained.
To give you an idea of the scope of the organization’s reach, in the fourth quarter of last year alone, CAA of South Alabama provided assistance to more than 3,000 households in Baldwin County alone. If you need help the first step is to make that call.
Community Action Agency of South Alabama