MILWAUKEE -- Weather experts predict we will experience much cooler this winter than we did last year. Now, several agencies are partnering up to help keep your heating bill affordable.
Milwaukee County officials have added two more energy assistant program locations this year, one in the north and one in the south suburbs.
The goal is to make it easier for people to get the energy saving services they need because the latest analysis shows a major cool down this winter.
Officials at We Energies say this winter will be anything but mild.
Last year was an anomaly . We saw extremely mild winter temperatures," said Cathy Schulze, We Energies spokesperson.
Plunging temperatures typically means higher energy bills.
"If we return to normal winter weather, our customers will pay more than last year," said Schulze.
The Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with UMOS and community advocates, is aiming to once again help residents keep heating costs down by promoting their energy assistance program.
It provides qualified applicants with a one time annual payment to make heating and electric bills more affordable.
"This program is not just for low income households. We know everybody needs a little help from time to time," said Ana Ortiz, UMOS program manager.
Ortiz says there are also spreading the word of the services to senior citizens, recent grads and new homeowners who may not realize they qualify for help. You can apply in person or over the phone. You can also get an energy saving kit to get you started.
"We really want to reach all those households that don't know they can get this extra help," said Ortiz.
In an effort to reach even more people in 2016, two new energy assistant offices have opened in the north and far side of Milwaukee.
This year, their goal is to help 70,000 households.
"We all know there is somebody out there struggling. You don't have to do this alone," said Ortiz.
No matter what your situation, a lower bill this winter can make all the difference.
"We want them to contact us sooner rather than later. There are options out there," said Schulze.
Their goal may be to help 70,000 residents but their data shows there are over 175,000 qualifying homes.
To find out if you qualify and how to apply for the program, visit energyassistancemke.org.