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Low-Income Mississipians May Qualify for Energy Assistance

By Daniel Cherry | Published 23 May 2012 04:48pm | comments
Mississippians line up for information about energy bill assistance

For many Mississippians living in poverty, an energy bill can be the difference-maker in whether a family makes it through the month. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how, with the summer approaching, several groups hope to help residents weather the heat and not break the bank.

"These are weather seal strips for the door. It's going to keep that temperature inside, inside, and it's going to keep that temperature outside, outside."

That's Roslyn Lockett going through a free weatherization kit she just picked up at an energy assistance event in Jackson. She expects after she puts up the weather strips, and efficiency shower heads and light bulbs, she'll save 30 to 40 dollars a month.

"I'm putting two daughters through college. I'm paying off years and years and years of student loans. I'm on a single-parent budget. When you start talking about a little savings here and a little savings there. It does start to add up."

For those living paycheck to paycheck, the increase in electricity bills during the summer months can put a family behind. Napoleon Johnson with Entergy Mississippi says some families have to make extremely difficult decisions each month.

"Your electric bill and your water bill are just some of the things that we have to focus on, but we have to feed our families. A lot of these families have kids they have to take care of so it's challenging."

That's why energy companies along with non-profit groups are offering assistance programs paid for by grants and charities, to low-income residents who qualify. One of the grants offered by the Mississippi Department of Human Services does free home weatherization. Sollie Norwood is Director of Community Services for DHS.

"We basically put insulation in the home. We do caulking and weather stripping, air sealing, and it basically proves to work wonders for a lot of the low-income population."

It's estimated homes implementing weatherization practices can save up to 25% off an energy bill.

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Mississippians line up for information about energy bill assistance


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