E. Tenn. agencies help folks pay electric bills

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – If you are looking for help paying your electric bill, there is help out there. The Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee says they have recently received more federal funds to assist people across the area in need.

It is called “LIHEAP” and has already helped many East Tennesseans.

On Wednesday, Paul Davies was scrambling to apply for LIHEAP because his power was due to be shut off at 5:00 p.m.

“If I get my energy shut off, then my lease isn't valid with the apartment that we're renting,” he said. “I need to get this done as soon as possible.”

Davies is like many other Knox County residents who have come to the CAC for help, and that is exactly what the organization is there for. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance program still has about $700,000 worth of funding available.

“This is a year round energy assistance program that provides a onetime payment to individuals and families in our community to helps defer the cost of utility bills,” said Cecelia Waters of the Community Action Committee.

The fund actually has enough in it to help between 1,200 and 1,500 families in the area.

The application deadline is June 30th and you must not have been served since July 1, 2009.

“Our income guidelines have gone up from 125% to 200% of poverty,” said Waters. “We want to reach out to those who may not know that this is available to them."

The available funds are based on your household's maximum monthly gross income and for residents like Davies, greatly appreciated.

“It's pretty desperate,” he said. “I mean I don't qualify for any government benefits at all. No unemployment, KCDC or anything like that. So if it wasn't for organizations like this, then I'm sure people would be in a much worse plight then they are."

CAC centers are scheduling extended hours and when you apply, you're encouraged to bring your last utility bill and proof of income.

You can find out how to apply for LIHEAP and what agency in your county handles LIHEAP applications by clicking on the link below.

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