Heating bill assistance available

As temperatures drop. The pressure to pay those higher energy bills is heating up. But there is some help available. With the cold temperatures, many people are feeling the heat bill pinch. . It's hard to forget last year's epic blizzard, right around this time. So far, we haven't seen that much snow pile up. But we have seen a blast of cold winter air.

To give you an idea, the average low this month has been 15–degrees. We've already seen 8 days in the single digits. And we've hit zero twice. Gary Brakhage knows all about that. This year he's having trouble paying his energy bill. He recently received a shut off notice from Black Hills Energy.

“Well, when I get the money, I'll pay for it, but I didn't have the money, now how much it was it wasn't that much, but when you don't have a lot coming in, then you gotta live within your means,” Brakhage said.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has a program to assist with basic heating needs. The low income energy assistance program is available to applicants when they meet certain income guidelines. “It's really to help with their current heating bills, they do not need to be in a crisis situation. They just need to qualify,” Ruth Vineyard with HHS said.

The program can help pay many different ways, including a one time payment or a portion of several monthly bills. So.. The next time we dip below freezing or get another dose of snow… HHS says you don't have to be left out in the cold.

To find out if you are eligible to get help with your bills you can apply at any local HHS office, as well as through their customer service call center at 1–800–383–4278 or you can also apply online at http://www.hhs.state.ne.us/fia/energy.htm