Home heating help programs available in Upstate - FOX Carolina 21

Home heating help programs available in Upstate

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The recent winter weather chill is a reminder of how important it is to have your heat on, but thousands of families in South Carolina aren't able to pay for their heat.

According to the Office of Economic Opportunity, in 2016, more than 181,000 people in South Carolina needed heating assistance in 2016, but there are programs to help.

Hank McCullough is with Piedmont Natural Gas, and says it's common right now to hear about high heating bills that are hard to pay for. 

"It's pretty normal during winter hours to have customers who have difficulty paying their heating bills in the winter time, and we do get those calls."

That's why the company has a special program to to help with those costs, called Share the Warmth.

McCullough said, "To receive the funds customers do not have to be Piedmont Natural Gas customers at all.  It can go for any energy source - gas, electric. The goal is to make sure the customers in need of help are receiving it during the cold winter months."

Customers can help out by rounding up their bills to the nearest dollars.  Piedmont Natural Gas then donates the difference to a partner Share the Warmth Agency, who distributes the money to those who qualify.

McCullough explained, "What we do is refer them to one of our Community Action Agencies in our local jurisdictions and have them reach out to those folks for heating assistance."

To find out if you qualify for home heating help, you'll need to find the Community Action Agency that serves your county.  Click here for more information.

Duke Energy has a program called Share the Warmth that customers can donate to.  It also helps residents in the Carolinas with their winter heating bills.  Duke Energy says they will match contributions dollar for dollar up to $500,000. 

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