An unseasonably warm March forced many in Georgia to turn on the air conditioning early. But money used to help the poor and elderly pay for heat is not available when temperatures soar.
Earlier this year, the state handed out $60 million in federal help so people could pay for heat. The money came in the form of a $350 credit per household.
Georgia allocates all of its federal funding for heat, not cold air, according to Robin Doster with the Middle Georgia Community Action Agency, which distributes the funds in Middle Georgia.
“If the heating situation gets extremely bad, we will give away fans,” Doster said. “We’ve done that in the past, purchased fans and set up at the senior citizens centers and gave them out free.”
Doster said any leftover heating credit can only pay for air if they are both electric.
“If I heat with propane and cool with electricity, I may not need assistance with my propane, I may need it with my electricity. But right now, the money is targeted to assist with heating assistance so we still have to go with that gas bill,” she said.
In June, prices for electricity will rise when Georgia Power’s summer rate schedule kicks in and the cost per kilowatt hour increases based on how much electricity you use.