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Winter energy moratorium ends soon, assistance available

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Winter is almost over and that means an important deadline is coming up.  Wisconsin's energy moratorium period ends April 15th.  That means if you are behind on your energy bills or can’t afford to pay them, your power may be shut off.

“Maybe like $600 a month or $500 a month,” We Energies customer Jamie Jones-Knox said.

Jones-Knox says due to a cold and snowy winter, her heating costs have skyrocketed.  On Monday, March 18th, she decided to visit the Social Development Commission before it's too late.

“They actually helped me out with my We Energies bill,” Jones-Knox said.

The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) helps low-income residents by providing a one-time payment to the utility company to cover a portion of the energy costs.

Last year, more than 54,000 households in Milwaukee County used the program.  The average payment was over $550.

It is money Jones-Knox admits is life-saving.

“I might be able to help catch up on other bills that need to be done and get some things out the way,” Jones-Knox said.

The assistance dollars, however, are going quickly and over the next few weeks, more people will likely be applying. Program officials encourage people to come in soon.

“Some people think they can only come in when they have a disconnection notice, and that's not true.  We want people to get in, get in, be seen, so you don't get caught up in that last-minute rush,” Sandra White, Energy Assistance Program Manager at the Social Development Commission said.

Residents can apply for the program through May 15th at Community Advocates or at one of three Social Development Commission sites.

A family of four that earns up to $46,700 a year may qualify for energy assistance.  To see if you may qualify or if you'd like more information, click here.