'It's been challenging': 30 percent of NC households struggle to pay energy bill, survey says

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Friday, December 2, 2022
30 percent of NC households struggle to pay energy bill, survey says
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The state of North Carolina anticipates more people will need to take advantage of low-income energy assistance program as many continue to struggle with inflation.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Patricia Murray knows what it's like to not have enough money to meet her utility bills. She's a writer and founder of the Durham Skywriter, which is a community newspaper, and also works part-time as a disc jockey to make ends meet.

"It's been pretty challenging," said Murray. "Sometimes I don't want to ask for help, but when I look at my numbers, I realize I have to put the pride up and get some help."

She's not alone, inflation has made things more expensive for everyone.

According to a new survey by LendingTree, in the past 12 months many Americans have had to choose between paying their utility bill and buying necessities. Data shows nearly 30 percent of households in North Carolina have reduced or skipped necessities like food or medicine in order to afford their energy bill.

"That is not surprising," said Meghan Russ with Durham County.

According to Russ, the state anticipates more people will need to take advantage of LIEAP program, a low-income energy assistance program this winter.

"So, people who have received it already. They went ahead and generate their applications. So, I think the state recognized the need with inflation," said Russ.

You can apply for the one-time payment online, in person or over the phone.

It's something Murray plans to do to ease her financial burden.

"The one thing about Durham, when you reach out for help, you get it quickly. These programs are really good," she said.