SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Utility costs have been rising at an alarming rate. Many have taken to shopping around for new energy suppliers, but with such high prices, even the most reasonable supplier is out of the price range for some.
Inflation was the talk of 2022. In 2023, the talk continues with the high cost of utilities stealing the show.
“We’re already seeing it in the new year, in 2023, of more people needing utility assistance and housing assistance,” said Jeff Ginsberg, a case manager for United Neighborhood Centers.
Electric supplier, PPL offers “Shopping 101” on their website. It’s a way for people to learn more about shopping for their electricity source and finding the right supplier for them.
But for some, not even switching suppliers can help them to afford the rising cost of their utility bill.
“The rise in utilities is definitely affecting individuals and families and paying and meeting their other expenses, and that is a great concern,” Ginsberg said.
A Scranton non-profit, United Neighborhood Centers of northeastern Pennsylvania, offers programs that can assist individuals and families with utility crises.
The mission of United Neighborhood Center goes beyond just helping people in need, they want to educate those who come to them in order to build long-term stability and independence.
The first step is showing up.
“I would encourage people to come in, have us see what their situation is. //flash// so we can not only help them, we can educate them and refer them to other sources that can also help them,” Ginsberg told Eyewitness News.
UNC will first refer you to the county assistance office, home of resources that specifically help with utilities such as the low-income home energy assistance program, better known as LIHEAP.
If these resources do not fit your specific situation, UNC will then take your case into their hands.
“The combination of referring them, making phone calls, and having established other agencies to refer them to, you try to find a way to make it work one way or another,” Ginsberg explained.
UNC offers several other programs and resources for needs that unexpectedly may arise due to the high costs of utilities.