By Holly Glen Gearhart, Contributing Writer
If you are fortunate enough to have an air conditioner to cool your home through this heat wave, no doubt your electric bill will cost you your food budget.
What can you do to stay cool without breaking the bank?
First things first; do turn on your air conditioner. A heat-related illness or worse, a full-blown heat stroke, can kill you or at least disable you for life. Worry about paying your electric bill later.
I know, easy for me to say.
But I do know from whence I am writing: I have a family history of heat stroke, I am over 55 and don’t live on much money. I feel your pain.
Fortunately, there are some resources you may not be aware of that are here to help you pay high utility bills. Even if you are not good at waiting in line or answering question after question on applications for assistance, there is help available – you just need to ask.
Below is a list of agencies to contact if you need help handling your utilities this hot summer.
Emergency Financial Assistance
Washington Council Of The Blind
P.O. Box 30009, Seattle, WA 98113
Offers one time only emergency assistance with food, utility bills and medical costs. Must be legally or totally blind.
Contact (800) 255-1147 Monday – Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saint Vincent de Paul Snohomish County Council
6424 Broadway Ave., Everett, WA 98203
Provides emergency assistance to people as funding allows.
Contact (425) 355-3504
Veterans Assistance Program
Snohomish County Human Services Department
3000 Rockefeller Ave., Lower Level, Everett, WA 98201
Provides emergency financial assistance with rent, utilities, food, and burial expenses to eligible veterans and their widows. This is not an entitlement program. No repeat applications for help will be accepted within 12 months from date of last assistance. Eligible veterans receive vouchers for their emergency needs at the first meeting with the Veteran Service Officer if applicant meets the state-mandated qualifications.
Contact (425) 388-7255 Monday – Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
13910 45th Ave. N.E. Room 829, Marysville, WA 98271
Provides aid to Navy and Marine Corps active duty and retired members, their family members, and survivors needing emergency assistance.
Contact (425) 304-3203 Monday – Friday, 8:15 a.m.- 5 p.m. and the 4th Saturday of the month, 9 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Community Utilities Program-CUP Fund
City of Monroe, 806 W. Main St., Monroe, WA 98272
Assists persons in paying their water, sewer, garbage and recycling bills if they are in danger of losing services and funds are available. The City of Monroe solicits donations to the CUP Fund from employees, local residents and utility customers.
Contact (360) 794-7400 Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Puget Sound Energy
10885 N.E. 4th St., Bellevue, WA 98009
The HELP program provides qualified customers with some bill paying assistance.
Contact (888) 225-5773