Needy Oklahomans Receive Help Paying Energy Bills

Tuesday, July 7th 2015, 11:30 pm
By: News On 6

Millions of dollars will be divided out to thousands of Oklahomans to help them pay their energy bills.

Tuesday, several hundred people poured into the Tulsa Department of Human Services to apply for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.

Each year there’s a winter program and a summer program meant to help people who struggle to pay their energy bills, and Tuesday, at DHS offices around the state, people with low incomes lined up, hoping to get some of the $18 million available in LIHEAP help.

Sandra Rushing was immediately approved for help.

"I am not ashamed to say that I need help," she said.

Rushing said, with the heat rising and taking care of seven grandkids, her electric bill gets out of hand fast.

"I flew down here when my caseworker called and told me about it," she said. “When you got a lot of grand babies like I got, it's kinda tough, so you have to come get help whenever you can."

Approval is often based on how many people live in a household and how much money they make a month.

Jena Pulsifer with the Department of Human Services said, “It's a huge assistance. Most families that qualify can qualify for the full 250, so it equates to almost an entire month worth of bills in a lot of households."

In addition to the money from the DHS, several Oklahoma energy providers will add additional help for LIHEAP approved families.

Oklahoma Natural Gas will reduce the bill by just over $5, and Oklahoma Gas and Electric provides a $10 credit each month.
The company will also provide free weatherization services to families who meet another set of criteria.

"They really help us out a lot, and for people that is in need of help it's a great deal and a great opportunity and I appreciate that," said Rushing.

PSO has a program where the public can pay a little extra on their bills that will go toward the "Help a neighbor program" which also helps people in need pay their electric bills.

You can also learn more about OG&E's Lend a hand program here.