Light bulbs

SHERMAN — The window is closing for Texans experiencing economic hardship due to Covid-19 to enroll in the state’s Electricity Relief Program. This program has been available since March 26, but only a small percentage of electricity customers have taken advantage of the benefits.

For Texans who miss the deadline to enroll, or need help beyond the state program’s scheduled end date, there is additional bill assistance available.

Many people aren’t aware that Texoma Council of Governments receives federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program funding to distribute to low-income families for energy expenses. Right now, because of the ongoing pandemic, an additional $94 million in funding is available to Texans through the CARES Act. People living in Collin, Cooke, Fannin, Denton, Hunt, Grayson and Rockwall counties can apply for assistance by downloading an application from TCOG’s website at www.tcog.com/energy/apply. Anyone interested in applying for assistance can also request an application be mailed to them by calling 903-813-3541 option 2, or toll-free at 800-677-8264 ext. 3541. Due to the increased requests for assistance, it may take up to 28 business days to process an application upon receipt.

“The impact from Covid-19 has been felt by everyone, but it is especially difficult for low-income households already facing economic insecurities. TCOG is positioned to help individuals and families find relief from the burden of higher energy costs – particularly during summer months when the demand is higher,” said Sean Norton, public information & media manager at TCOG, adding, “TCOG also offers assistance with gas and propane bills.”

Additionally, as Texans spend increased amounts of time at home during the hottest months of the year, energy savings can be found with these simple tips:

Don’t turn off your air conditioner. Set your thermostat at 78º or higher.

Use fans when you’re in the room. Ceiling fans and box fans can help keep you cool and use considerably less energy than your air conditioner.

Install storm or thermal windows and doors or double-paned glass. A less expensive alternative is plastic sheeting, which can be temporarily fastened over doors and windows to retain cool air.

Clean your dryer lint filter after every load.

For additional information about the help that is available for low-income households beyond the state’s Electricity Relief Program, contact TCOG’s Energy Services Department at 903-813-3541.

“TCOG’s goal is to improve quality of life. We believe that we can and will help build better lives through programs such as these and the other services we offer,” Norton said.

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