Dozens show up for electric bill assistance at Shreveport charity

To qualify for bill assistance, recipients must participate in Catholic Charities' "money...
To qualify for bill assistance, recipients must participate in Catholic Charities' "money school."(KSLA)
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 12:47 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Tuesday morning (July 19), about 40 people stood in line outside Catholic Charities of North Louisiana with the hopes of getting assistance with their bills.

Meg Goorley, the executive director, says summertime is usually busy. However, with COVID-19 relief funding dwindling, more people are finding themselves in financial predicaments.

Debbie Ortiz-Smith says she’s a month behind on rent.

“With COVID going and falling back on everything, food alone is high. It’s terrible,” she said.

Ora Patrick says she needs help paying her rent and utility bills.

“They just keep going up. I missed one month and I’m way back,” she said.

On Friday, we got answers for our KSLA viewers frustrated with high utility bills. We reached out to SWEPCO to ask what’s causing the increased bills. They explained there are two factors at play: the increased cost of natural gas and increased use of electricity.

In 2021, SWEPCO said their Louisiana customers paid a fuel charge of 3.7 cents per kilowatt-hour. It’s now 6.3 cents per kWh. In the process, KSLA also found several ways for our viewers to get assistance.

“Your story certainly helped. The circumstances of today are also encouraging people to come and seek assistance,” Goorley said.

Those who qualify for assistance have to go through a financial literacy class, which Catholic Charities calls “Money School.”

SWEPCO also said they have a list of assistance options.

Here are other related links to avenues that also might be able to help you pay your utility bills:

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