Happy New Year, and welcome to winter! The snow and cold that we’ve recently experienced is making for greater energy usage in all of our homes leading some people to worry about keeping the heat on. I’d like to offer a few tips to counter that.
The first thing I do when the cold sets in is to add some layers of clothing (like a set of long underwear), and then I lower the heat. This works with children as well; dress them in an extra layer, even when indoors, and they won’t even notice that you’ve turned down the thermostat. Next, turn down the temperature on your water heater. It’s more efficient, and it’s safer— a lower water temperature makes it less likely anyone could get burned in a hot bath. Check your overhead fans to see if they are set for cold temperatures. During the winter, your ceiling fan should run at a low speed in a clockwise direction. That keeps the warmer air down low where the people are, instead of up by the ceiling where warm air naturally rises. And turn fans off as soon as they’ve done their jobs. If no one is in the room to feel it, moving air is a waste of electricity. Close off seldom-used rooms and close the heating vents inside. Move rugs or furniture away from your vents. Open curtains and shades on south-facing windows during the day to allow solar radiation to warm the living space. Close curtains at night to slow down the escape of heat. You can find additional tips at www.Energy.gov. There are many up-to-date ideas on ways to save energy and money.
When families find themselves in need of assistance with their heat and other utility bills they should come to the township where workers can help with financial assistance or with connecting them to other resources. One of those resources is the Energy Assistance Program administered by Brightpoint. If you want to learn more about that program, or to download forms to apply for that assistance you can visit them online at MyBrightpoint.org.
The Energy Assistance Program allows certain households to be put under a moratorium, so that their heat stays on through the winter months. Payments on utility bills are expected during the moratorium. If no payment is made there will be an extremely large bill once the spring weather arrives. We expect clients on the moratorium to continue to request assistance from our office as needed.
Call our information line, (260) 449-7000 x312, if you need assistance. For an appointment, individuals should come in on their letter day before 9:00 a.m. Letter days are determined by the first letter of the last name. Assigned letter days are as follows: Monday A-F, Tuesday G-L, Wednesday M-R, and Thursday S-Z.
Letter days do not apply when requesting medical or burial assistance. Individuals should bring the following items on appointment day: a copy of the bill(s) you are seeking assistance with, verification of household income for the past sixty days, paid bill receipts for the past sixty days, receipts for items purchased in the last sixty days, your rental agreement, lease, or mortgage payment booklet or statement, government-issued unexpired picture identification such as a state ID or driver’s license for all adults in the household, social security cards for everyone in the household, birth certificates for all minors in the household, a copy of the most current income tax return if filed, or W2 if a return has not been filed, and bank or credit union balance statements. Have receipts grouped together by category. Additional items may be requested at the time of your appointment, so bringing in all the appropriate information could result in fewer and shorter visits with the investigator.
Combining Township Assistance and Brightpoint’s Energy Assistance, along with doing the best you can individually to conserve energy should allow families to keep their heat on during the harsh winter months.