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WTU assistance programs.

While WTU will work with struggling low income customers, most of their resources are offered from referrals to non-profit and government programs. The company can redirect those in need to the state of Texas Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program or the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Resource. These are two of the most common assistance programs that are available.

The company is committed to supporting customers and helping them find the solutions they need, and they do this every step of the way. Especially with the difficult economy, they know their support and guidance is even more important.

WTU offers struggling customers information about the state of Texas Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP). It is a federal government funded program that can help eligible Direct Energy customers pay their electricity bills and save money from services such as weatherization. This is the nation's leading government funded energy program for low income customers.

Cash grants can be issued to customers from CEAP. Of particular importance is helping senior citizens, families with young children and the disabled in WTU service territory.

Customers will need to contact their local community action agency to apply. If you need additional advice or financial assistance with paying your utility bills, WTU has information on participating community agencies in their service territory. To get information  or receive options, feel free to call (877) 399-8939. Callers will be put into contact with the CEAP service provider in your county. You need to use a land line and not a cell phone.

Another one of the main resources available in for WTU customers is the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program. This is paid for by customer donations as well as matching grants and funds from WTU. The Neighbor-to-Neighbor program can offer one time grants to those who are faced with a crisis situation.




Much of the funding comes from WTU Retail Energy. Over the years the company has increased the amount of assistance paid out by double digit rates. Dozens of low income households in Texas who were struggling to pay their electricity bill receive some form of help from the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program every year. Some of the beneficiaries may be seniors or the disabled living on a fixed income, or someone who lost their job and that was no fault of their own.

As indicated, it relies on donations and contributions as well. If you can donate, please do so. Many people who are benefiting from the program did in fact even donate in the past, so this just goes to show that anyone may hit a difficult period at any time, and this WTU Neighbor-to-Neighbor program is one of the main resources that can help people.

It is simple to participate. Customers may donate to the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program by checking the "bill assistance" box on their monthly statement. They can also call the company to donate over the phone. You can contribute as much or as little as you would like to. Your money will no go towards administrative costs but will rather go to help those who are struggling in the community.

You can call a local community action agency to apply for the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program. One of the advantages of calling these agencies is that you can also learn about, and maybe even apply, for other programs such as Texas Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program or weatherization (as indicated above). So your local community action agency may be able to help you by offering various services.

While funding will vary, those who qualify for the Texas Neighbor-to-Neighbor program may receive up to $600 in cash grants/financial assistance during the year. Each agency is responsible for screening applicants and will determine who will receive assistance. There are various income criteria in place that will be partly based on the number of members you have in your household.




By Jon McNamara


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