FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Temperatures are on the rise in Northwest Arkansas, and odds are your utility bill is going up right along with them.
Rising electric bills in the summer are never surprising; however, in a year plagued with financial challenges, places like the Economic Opportunity Agency are happy to step in and help those who need it.
“If you worry about that, you’re going to have knots in your stomach. So you’re just going to have to relax and pray about it, and everything is going to work out for the best,” said rental recipient Carol Massie.
Massie lives in Springdale. She came to to the Economic Opportunity Agency, an organization that helps those who qualify for assistance keep their utilities paid, for help.
Casey Parker with EOA said every year the agency helps more than thirty-five hundred people like Massie make ends meet at the end of the month.
She said the heatwave has put an additional strain on struggling Arkansans. However, it is not the only stressor.
“Utility companies could not shut people off during the pandemic, and that ended at the end of May,” said Parker. “So people weren’t paying their bills, or they couldn’t afford to pay their bills because they needed to buy other things during this time.”
A utility moratorium kept people’s unpaid utilities from being shut off, and now that it has ended, Parker said she’s seen record-sized overdue balances.
“So their bills have racked up, and once it lifted, the utility companies were ready to come and collect or turn off. We’ve seen $2500 bills,” said Parker.
EOA said if you qualify for food stamps, odds are you will also be eligible for its utility assistance. To see if you qualify, head to this link here.