Wednesday, February 28, 2024

United Way of Bruce Grey – 2015 Utility Assistance Report


hydro metre Robert Linder468

December 2013 gave us an indication that 2014 was going to be an exceptional year for the United Way’s Utility Assistance Program.  We saw a doubling of propane prices, rising from a low of 55 cents per litre to a high of $1.29 per litre.  Propane shortages were reported across the province.

The extended and very intense winter saw weeks of snow days and closed highways.  There were mid-winter disconnects as well as closed highways keeping the trucks off the road.  The anticipated summer slowdown did not occur as families were still catching up on the winter’s bills, and struggling to get ahead before the weather turned cold again.

But as they are known to do, Bruce-Grey residents stepped up to help when help was most desperately needed.

Funding for oil, wood and propane needs is 100 percent fundraised from the community.  In 2014 over $120 000 was raised to address that need.

The 211 phone service saw a 21 percent increase in the number of calls related to utility issues.

Last year saw a lot of people in need of utility bill assistance, 2015 however, is starting off where 2014 left off.

In the first three weeks of 2015 the following assistance is already required:

Union Gas – 51 applicants – requesting $21 000  in support – average bill is $450

Hydro One – 20 applicants – needing $10 000  in support – average bill is over $1000

Westario Power – 31 applicants – needing $11 000  in support  – average bill is around $400 – Westario does disconnect in winter so bills don’t get as high

Community Fund – 63 applicants – needing $31 000  in support  (wood propane oil)

That’s $73 000 in support being accessed by 165 families – one third of the people who used the program in all of 2014.

For more information on this program, and for opportunities to assist, you can contact Francesca Dobbyn at the United Way Grey-Bruce at –  519 376 1560

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