NECAC offices flooded with utility assistance requests

Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 3:56 AM CST
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QUINCY (WGEM) - NECAC’s utility assistance is available for those who are finding themselves in need but officials said they are seeing a massive increase in applications this year.

NECAC officials said they have been getting flooded with applications for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program and their Energy Crisis Prevention Program since they opened up utility assistance for people under 60 on December 1.

They said they are seeing 687 more applications this year than last year. Employment Service Coordinator Intake Assistant Crystal Bliss said they expect that number to grow as they are seeing new applications every day.

She said the increase is due to inflation and higher utility bills and it takes a lot of teamwork to get through all the applications.

“It doesn’t make it harder to process, it just puts a big toll on us, on our processing team especially,” she said. “They are trying to process everything as fast as they can,” Bliss said.”

She said they are processing the applications with disconnect services first, then making their way through the others. She said the greatest demands for service are for heating and natural gas.

Service Employment Redevelopment volunteer Linda Krigbaum said she is seeing a lot more people under the age of 40 applying. Krigbaum said people can get up to $3,000 in assistance, depending on the assistance and bill.

Krigbaum said those applying need their social security number for everyone in the household over the age of 19, along with copies of their utility bill and proof of income. She said it’s important for those applying to have all the necessary items so they can get their application processed quickly.

“I’m having to send some of them out to Social Security Office,” Krigbaum said. “They usually have to end up going and getting their utility bills because they don’t know that they need them.”

She said it can take up to 30 days to process someone’s application for approval of assistance. While they normally get it done quicker than that, she said with the large number of applications coming in, it might take the full 30 days for some to get processed.

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