Lufkin man struggles to keep power on

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An East Texas man relies on his electricity to help keep him alive, and Wednesday afternoon he was in danger of losing that life-line.

"I received a disconnection notice," said Dennis Morris holding up his electric bill.

Morris owes more than $450 to his electric company.

"I get my check on the third, but because of paying bills and buying my medicines, I'm having to go overdraft every month just to make ends meet," Morris said.

He's among a growing number of Americans who are making tough financial choices, and the summer months often mean higher electric bills.  However, some electric companies have programs to help keep people out of the dark.

"We wanted to help those customers that needed it the most, said TXU Energy Spokesperson Sophia Stoller.

However, Morris said he's had trouble getting on a plan.

"Love Inc. I've talked to them, they're one of the ones that help with electricity," Morris said.  "They said they're out of funds until the first. The first [isn't] going to do me [any] good."

"I get fifteen dollars a month food stamps, okay I go to Christian information to get food, I go to Salvation Army and get food, just to make ends meet," said Morris as he choked back tears.  "And still I can't make it with the electric bill. My biggest cost, over half my check goes to the electric bill."

Energy companies said keeping in mind a few energy-saving tips could help some, such as turning the thermostat up four degrees when you leave your home, Identifying air leaks and applying weather stripping to your windows and doors, Installing blinds in your windows, and cleaning your fixtures, lamps, and lenses every six to 24 months.

For more information on how you can get help with your electric bill, just go to the big red box and click on "TXU Energy Bill Assistance."

Stoller said Wednesday night TXU stopped Morris's disconnect and sent him forms to be put on the do not disconnect plan that will be good until September.  Stoller said if you are low-income, critical care, or a senior 62 and up, you could qualify for the do not disconnect plan, you just need to call 1-800-242-9113.

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