This high heat – 10 straight days of triple digit temperatures in Dallas-Fort Worth – will soon result in some spiked electricity bills for people who have adjusted their air conditioning levels accordingly.
And for far too many people that increased amount owed will be too much to cover.
“If that paycheck is already accounted for before it comes to the door you can't handle situations like that,” said Ted Beechler, Executive Director of the White Rock Center of Hope, a nonprofit that spends between $100,000 to $150,000 a year to help people cover rent and utility bills.
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The White Rock Center of Hope is set up to assist people who live in five area codes in the area surrounding White Rock Lake in east Dallas – 75214, 75218, 75223, 75228 and 75238. According to Beechler, the organization helps between 50 and 100 families every month, with the summer months being among the busiest.
“Oh no doubt about it. When the temperature gets above 100, people get utility bills that they were not budgeting for and they need help,” Beechler said.
It is a similar story at other, like-minded organizations in other areas of North Texas, as well.
“We are seeing an increase in the number of people needing assistance,” said Monty Moore, CEO of Allen Community Outreach, a nonprofit that assists citizens across much of Collin County. “We anticipate utility assistance requests to continue to increase in the next couple of months as people get their utility bills for this very hot time period.”
Moore noted that in June, Allen Community Outreach assisted 718 households, representing 2,451 people, a noticeable increase from the average monthly assistance of 638 households, representing 2,065 people.
If someone needs assistance but does not know where to turn they can call 211, which is a program of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, for a point in the right direction.
In addition, Reliant Energy has a comprehensive list of social service organizations that may be able to offer financial help.