Springfield's OACAC expects increase in utility assistance this summer

Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 11:30 AM CDT
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If you're having trouble paying your utility bills because of lost income during this pandemic, more help is on the way.

Springfield's OACAC is closed to the public. But the office is taking applications for assistance.

The winter energy assistance program just ended. The season kept organizers busy. Summer assistance started June 1. When the temperature climbs, air conditioning is often necessary to keep people healthy and safe. With so many hurting financially right now, they know many will need help with the utility bills

Throughout the pandemic, many utility companies chose not to issue shut off notices. For example, Springfield City Utilities suspended disconnects until at least July 6. OACAC expects to see an increase in requests for help when those shut-off notices start coming. To help out, the state of Missouri announced $15 million more in funding for the low-income home energy assistance program. It will allow the program to help people with up to $600 on their cooling bills instead of the usual $300. To be eligible, you must have an income of 135% of the federal poverty level or lower. But right now, the program director expects to see a lot of people who will meet the criteria for assistance

"And the need is out there," said Tommie Trammell of OACAC. "So I really encourage people to call our line. Just leave a message and the OACAC.

LIHEAP staff will take care of their needs."

Those needing help can call OACAC at (417) 864-3460. OACAC serves 10 counties. Organizers do not know much of the $15 million OACAC will receive. They should know more in a couple of days.