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WPS: Be proactive about energy assistance


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- The temperatures are dropping, which means the furnaces are running more and more. That can be a financial strain for many families.

Kelly Zagrzebski from Wisconsin Public Service says there are some energy assistance programs available, such as money towards your bill or help in making your home more energy efficient. She says it is very important to be proactive and let them know when you are having trouble paying the bill. “There’s different avenues that can help them out, but the big thing is being proactive, and going where they need to go to get help, and we can help them to get to the right agencies. If they don’t talk to us about it and they ignore it, there’s no way we can help them.”

Ignoring a utility bill all winter may get you through the winter, but come spring, it will be very hard to keep the lights on. “When the moratorium is lifted and we start going out and doing disconnections, you know, there’s not a lot they can do but come up with the full amount.”

Zagrzebski says people should call as soon as they believe they are going to have trouble paying the utility bills because there are different agencies in different areas that can help keep the problem from getting bigger. “It depends on which county that they’re in, so they need to give us a call, and our call handlers are able to help them out and let them know what agencies are available within those counties, whether it’s energy services, CAP (Services) or something like that.”

Each county has a designated agency that handles energy assistance programs. Zagrzebski says you can call Wisconsin Public Service at 800-450-7260 to get information about the services where you live.