Program helps pay high electric bills

RALEIGH "From judging what I'm looking at, yeah, I think it went up a little bit," customer April Seawell said.

That little bit equals a 10.2 percent increase in your Progress Energy bill. The company blames fuel costs.

In the end, customers who pay $300 could roughly have to pay $320.

Seawell says she has to have electricity given the cold weather, so she's going to pay the higher bill.

And it's harder for seniors to pay the increase. Those who aren't able to pay their bill usually seek help from social services.

Through the Progress Energy Neighbor Fund, Wake County Social Services helps customers who can't afford to pay their bill. Despite the rate increase and the cold temperature, there are a few things you can do inside to save some cash.

Start with your home thermostat and keep the temperature at 68 degrees. Other options include replacing your air filter. You should also seal your window and doors with inexpensive weather stripping.

Mort importantly, don't wait to ask for help. Setting up payment plans early can help you plan for the bills ahead.

To find out more about the Progress Energy Neighbor Fund, log on to OR

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