By: Chris Porter
The recent winter weather blanketing Central Kentucky has been beautiful to look at. However, for families that struggle financially, this weather brings with it new worries – higher utility bills. The economic hardships brought by the pandemic means millions more Americans now face difficult choices between feeling comfortable and safe in their homes or coming out of the pandemic with extremely high utility bills (once service shut off moratoriums have been lifted).
How bad is the situation? Recently, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) released an article advocating for greater utility relief in any new stimulus package. The same piece estimates that, nationally, utilities are facing $30 billion in overdue bills from consumers. The same piece also acknowledges that the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (or LIHEAP), which provides vital relief for low-income consumers who struggle to pay their winter heating bills, was not meeting the existing need before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Locally, the Energy Efficiency & Climate Change Action Team, a volunteer-run group that formed during 2020’s Bluegrass Sustainability Summit, has been seeking to reinforce the existing web of services underpinning Central Kentucky’s renewable and energy efficiency landscape. In addition to creating a guide to existing efficiency resources, the Energy Action Team has also been trying to raise $2,500 for the purchase of energy efficiency kits that the Team will distribute directly to low-income residents in Lexington.
In November, the Team received news that the Bluegrass Chapter of the Sierra Club was offering a generous one-to-one match for this effort, up to $1,250. This means, the Team needs to only raise $1,250 to be able to purchase the much-needed kits. The great news is that the Team is already more than halfway there, having already raised $700 during the end-of-year giving campaign! This leaves the Team needing only $550 to unlock the match and purchase the kits. That’s just 11 gifts of $50 or 22 gifts of $25.
Will you support the work of the Energy and Climate Action Team by making a gift? All proceeds raised for this effort will directly support the Team’s project to purchase and distribute the energy efficiency kits to low-income Lexingtonians, and will not support Bluegrass Greensource’s other programming.
If you want to help, please click this link to make your donation. If you want to get directly involved with this effort, please contact Giulia L. Parli at firstname.lastname@example.org. New members are always welcomed and can join the Team’s monthly (virtual) meetings!
There’s never been a clearer need for communities to come together than during the current moment. The Energy and Climate Action Team thanks you for considering their request and for supporting your community!