With air conditioners working overtime as the heatwave continues to hang across Kansas City, many residents are bracing for a spike in utility bills. In fact, energy prices are up 41% from this time last year. Evergy, which provides energy services to houses and businesses across Kansas City, is providing customers options through a variety of resources to avoid losing service during the extreme heat.
Gina Penzig, a spokesperson for Evergy, says the company offers multiple programs that customers on a fixed or low income can utilize if they are experiencing an increase in utility bills.
“With the current heatwave, we know that budgets can definitely be tight, and customers sometimes need that financial assistance to make ends meet,” Penzig said. “So we have resources customers can go to.”
One program available in Missouri is a low-income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP), which can provide a one-time yearly payment of up to $636 dollars toward energy costs, and a utility assistance program through the Missouri Department of Social Services that can provide up to $2,200 dollars for energy costs. Residents of Missouri do need to meet certain eligibility requirements which are available here.
Evergy also offers an average payment plan that calculates the average cost of 12 previous energy bills to create an even monthly bill. With this plan, customers know what to expect to spend on energy bills each month throughout the year and evens out spikes in bills during periods of extreme temperature.
The company also has a walk-in facility near 17th Street and Paseo Boulevard, open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for any customer who needs to make a payment or discuss payment options.
“We like to work with customers who might be financially struggling, to help identify a system to make sure they do not accumulate a large past due balance,” Penzig said. “We try to help if we can.”
While using air conditioning is unavoidable during the day when temperatures are at the highest, Penzig said these tips can also help Kansas Citians keep their energy usage low.
- Close the blinds and curtains to keep the sunshine out.
- Make sure you turn off lights or fans that are not in use. It’s easy to forget the bathroom or kitchen fan
- Use ceiling fans or floor fans to keep air circulating throughout the home. This helps keep air conditioning use low.
- Use the dishwasher, washer, and dryer either early in the morning or late at night to minimize the amount of time the air conditioner and other large appliances are on simultaneously.
- Opt for meals that minimize or do not require the use of the oven or stovetop. Use a crock pot or substitute a cold meal instead.