Officials Give Options for High Electric Bills

Lynchburg, VA - Sometimes money can get tight, but don't risk getting your power shut off if you don't pay your bills.

If you need assistance, you can go to the Lynchburg Salvation Army. There are several programs, but you need to apply.

One local woman recently had her power turned off because she didn't have the right information.

"Yeah, I agree we were delinquent, I agree that we needed to pay it and I know we needed to pay it," said Kim McFaden.

McFaden isn't denying the facts: She didn't pay her bill. So, AEP turned her power off.

She's since had it restored, but AEP officials want to make sure customers know they have options before something like this happens to them.

AEP spokesperson Todd Burns makes it very clear that customers get several notifications before anything is shut off. In fact, he says they work with customers on payment options if they need them.

Burns says AEP has programs in place to help customers if they begin to fall behind.

One such program is the average monthly payment plan where customers pay a rolling 12 month average.

He says sadly, only 10 % of their customers utilize this service.

Another option would be an agency like the Salvation Army, just make sure you see them before anything is shut off.

"As soon as you get that disconnect notice on electricity or gas, you need to be coming in," said Jamie Warrick, Center of Hope director at the Lynchburg Salvation Army.

So far this Fall, they've been very busy.

"She saw 16 folks yesterday, so that's pretty busy for an 8 hour day," said Warrick.

Other options besides the Salvation Army include Interfaith Outreach Association, Lynchburg Community Action Group and area social services.

You can also dial 211 on your phone, which provides information about agencies and groups that help in your area.

McFaden says her mom has a medical problem that would cause her to have the power on, but officials say no matter what, you still have to pay your bill.

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