NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - As summer temperatures rise, so do electric costs.
East Texans needing help paying utility bills are encouraged to apply now for assistance. The money is available, but applications are coming in awfully slow.
East Texas forecasts now consistently show hot temperatures.
Greater East Texas Community Action Program director Karen Swenson has her own prediction.
"The weather is not going to get any cooler," Swenson said. "And looking ahead it's going to be challenging to meet those high energy bills."
"We have tons of money that we want to spend and get out there," said Candice Ivory, a GETCAP eligibility specialist.
In all 20, counties are served. Workers just want applicants to start applying now.
"If your air conditioner is coming on often, and you kind of suspect your bill will be higher, that's when we advise you to apply," Ivory said.
"We want to let people know you don't have to wait until you get a termination notice," Swenson said.
Application is now online.
"Right here, it says apply for energy assistance," Ivory said as she explained the application process.
It takes the user straight to the application, which must be printed off and filled out.
"You are able to mail it in," Ivory said. "You can fax it or even e-mail it in."
A 1-800 number is provided for assistance in maneuvering the site or the form.
Eligibility is based on the household income.
"In rural East Texas we see a lot of elderly and disabled individuals that are struggling," Swenson said. "There's a lot of working poor."
Waiting to make application is not advised. The goal is to see that millions of dollars end up helping those in need.
"Unfortunately, money that is not drawn down, that we cannot utilize in East Texas has to go back to the federal government," Swenson said.
Last year, Greater East Texas Community Action Program provided energy assistance for 30-thousand households.
Click here for a link to the GETCAP website.