Utility Fund Runs Out

8-1-06- As temperatures soar in Oklahoma, a fund that helps needy Oklahomans pay their electric bills is empty, just months after it began at the start of the summer.

Statewide, at the start of the summer, the Department of Human Services had $ 4.2 million dollars to help low income residents pay their electric bills, but thanks in part to the extreme heat this year, that money went fast.

The DHS office in Bryan County began taking applications for utility assistance on Jul 19th, but less than a week later, the money they had available to help was gone and no more applications were accepted.

In all, Bryan County was able to help about 150 families this summer, providing between $120 to $160 dollars to help offset the cost of keeping air conditioners running.

At this point, the DHS is referring people to area non-profit groups that may be able to help.

The money was given on a first come-first serve basis. The Chairman of the National Energy Assistance Directors Association is asking President Bush to release more money for the nationwide energy assistance program.

To find out more about free fans, call the Southern Oklahoma Development Association's Area Agency on Aging senior information hotline: 1-800-211-2116