How Energy Outreach Colorado Supported a Care-giving Grandmother

Barb T. is an expert at stretching a limited budget to feed and clothe her family. “I’ve become the garage sale queen,” she chuckled, reflecting on her experience raising two daughters and now three grandsons single-handedly.

But it wasn’t a laughing matter when her electric bill suddenly spiked to $425 the month after she had an air conditioner installed in her Loveland home to mitigate the severe summer allergies suffered by her 11-year-old grandson.  “We couldn’t leave the windows open because he was so sick every day, even on medication, and it was too hot to sleep,” she said.

Barb hadn’t had air conditioning before, so at first she didn’t realize there was a major glitch. “I just thought that’s how much it costs until I got the next bill for $525, then another bill for $450,” she said. “I quit using it and thought, how on earth are we supposed to pay for this with just $1,400 in total income for the month?”

While the vendor that installed the air conditioner tried to figure out the problem, Barb struggled to find a way to pay her overdue bill before her energy was shut off.  The resilient 64-year-old had previously worked for 17 years as a veterinarian technician, but left her profession after getting custody of her three grandsons who were traumatized from a domestic abuse situation and needed ongoing therapy and medication.

“When you’re dealing with kids with trauma you never know what will trigger them and there’s no way you can work full time,” she said. “I tried working part time but I never knew when I’d get a call from school saying I needed to pick up one of them.”

As remarkable as she was at caring for the needs of her grandchildren, she was stymied by a dysfunctional air conditioner. Fortunately, your support enabled her to get energy bill payment assistance to pay off her electric bill.

“I was in total and absolute shock and feel incredibly blessed that Energy Outreach Colorado could help me that much,” she said. “I had instant relief from losing sleep wondering how I’m going to pay off this outrageous bill. I’ll always be indebted to the fact that you helped me.”

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Date Posted: 11/27/2017