Energy programs; food shelves

Dear Neighbor,

I just want to take a minute to pass along some information regarding the Cold Weather Rule and energy assistance programs that are available.

The Cold Weather Rule can protect people from having their heat turned off in the winter if they fall behind on their utility bill. But be advised you MUST contact your utility to apply for this Cold Weather Rule protection when you know you won’t be able to make a payment; it doesn’t just take effect on its own.

This service is available Oct. 15 through April 15 each year. It covers all natural gas and electric utilities. Delivered fuels like fuel oil, propane and wood do not apply.

Energy Assistance also is available for those who meet certain criteria. Lakes and Pines CAC is a private, non-profit outfit that offers assistance for low-income people in our seven-county area. Click here for more.

There also is a ton of information for both assistance and the Cold Weather Rule at the Public Utilities Commission website. Click here or you also can call the Energy Assistance Hotline at (800) 657-3710. Many utility companies also have specific information on programs available on their own websites.

This also is a time of the year when increased demand stretches our food shelves. Your donations always are welcome and the Family Pathways website contains a lot of information if you click here.