By: Chris Rios, Reporter
OMAHA, Neb. – Energy insecurity is rising and more families are struggling to pay their bills. According to the Energy Information Administration, energy prices rose 59% over the course of 2021. Hunger, poverty, and energy insecurity are affecting Americans but help is available.
Saturday, the Omaha Power Plants District and the Metropolitan Utilities District hosted their 16th annual, Heat the Streets Run and Walk for Warmth, with proceeds benefiting local utility assistance programs.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, 11% percent of the U.S. lived in poverty. The contributing factor? According to the 2020 energy burden report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the average American household spent 3.1% of its income on energy costs. Support Services supervisor of OPPD Garry Floyd says that he feels honored to work for a company that cares for its community.
“With a utility like power you know, everyone needs power and it’s so humbling to be able to come and realize that it’s not accessible to everyone and you know we need to make sure that it’s helpful to everyone and available to everyone.”
According to the Energy Information Administration in 2020, 34 million U.S. households reported having difficulty paying for energy bills. Heat the streets is hosted in the cold winter months to bring attention to those who struggle to hear their homes. A runner at the event, Micah Fannin says,
“It’s a great cause, they are a lot of people struggling out there so anything we can do to come out and help and have fun at the same time, it’s a win-win.”
OPPD’s Customer Assistance Program (CAP) is designed to provide financial assistance in the form of a monthly credit. OPPD also offers the energy efficiency assistance program. EEAP reduces your monthly utility bills, teach valuable cost-cutting energy saving tips and grants up to $2,000 in energy efficient home upgrades.
On a federal level, low income home energy assistance program, LIHEAP, makes financial assistance available to low income households with immediate energy needs.
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