WakeHELPS program provides $500 lifeline for those struggling with utility bills amid COVID-19

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The relentless heat we've endured in recent days means higher utility bills for some customers. It's a real problem for people who've been laid off, lost their jobs or can't return to work due to COVID-19 concerns.

"In the city of Raleigh for example, roughly 10,000 customers owe $125 or more on their water bills. And Duke Energy says roughly 13,000 customers own a total of about $5.1 million in unpaid power bill," said Wake County Board of Commissioners chairman Greg Ford

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Now the county's offering relief for those struggling to keep up with their financial obligations.

It's called WakeHELPS, a program that uses 5 million in federal money to provide cash strapped people up to $500 of assistance. The money can be used to resolve past due electricity, water, gas, wastewater or solid waste services.

Applications from Wake County residents whose finances took a hit from COVID-19 related issues and have past due bills from March 1 or later can apply at covid19.wakegov.com/wakehelps/

"And we'll accept applications until October, or until the funding runs out," said Ford.

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