As the temperatures continue to drop in the Tennessee Valley, more people are cranking up their thermostats, but some people can't afford the costs to heat their homes. Huntsville Utilities has helped provide assistance for those who need help through its Project Share Program.
A spokesperson for Huntsville Utilities said the program has been in place for 30 years, but starting this January, they're adding an energy audit program to help people save money. The bill assistance program gives customers an opportunity to help their neighbors who may be struggling to pay their bills.
"To offer the ability for customers to do a donation in honor of someone else, you know, like a Christmas gift or any kind of gift," said Joe Gehrdes, the Huntsville Utilities director of communication.
The program is in partnership with the Salvation Army and serves the elderly and those with disabilities. Gehrdes said the department is in the process of starting a new program for low-income families to receive energy efficiency retrofit assistance. The free program will help lower their bills.
"We go evaluate the home and see where it can be improved so that over time we can make those improvements and lower their utility bill on a more permanent base," said Gehrdes.
Gehrdes said people can donate however much they want, whether it's just a nickle or hundreds of dollars. Huntsville Utilities makes the donation process easy for people to donate online or if they get paper bills, to donate on their bills.
A Huntsville Utilities customer, Chasen Uptain, said he thinks these programs are a good idea.
"I think it would be very beneficial. If everybody gave a little bit, I'm sure it would help a lot of families keep their power on," said Uptain.