Our $3,364 Power Bill = $18,000 in Free Home Improvements

Our $3,364 Power Bill = $18,000 in Free Home Improvements


– What would you do if you
received a $3,000 power bill? I’m Nicole from
LowIncomeRelief.com where we help millions of people save
money and get free stuff. Just this week I saw a report from the Energy Information
Administration that said that nearly a third of American households struggle to pay their power bill. They said that 25 million
American households have to decide whether to buy food
or pay their electric bill or whether to buy medicine
or pay their electric bill. That’s not a choice that anyone
should ever have to make, but the report went on to say that nearly seven million of those
households have to make that choice almost every single month. I just want to let that
point sink in for a minute. We’re talking about
seven million households having to choose between
keeping the power on or buying their life-saving medication or putting food on the table
or keeping their power on. These are serious choices
with serious consequences, and these are problems that I don’t think anyone should ever have to face. Of course, I know first
hand what it’s like to struggle with impossibly
high power bills. A few years ago I was shocked when I opened a $3,364 bill from PSE. I had no idea how we were gonna
pay off a balance that high. Fortunately, we were able to
find help in the community. We were able to get some grants and pledges toward that balance. We were also able to get some
weatherization assistance, which lowered our future
power bills dramatically, and that’s what I want to
talk to you about today. Before we begin, I just
want to let you know, if you’re struggling with an
impossibly high power bill you can find help at
LowIncomeRelief.com/Power. We’re researching every
power company state by state to find out what assistance programs are available to you
when you need it most. And again, all that information is available at LowIncomeRelief.com/Power. I will never forget opening that $3,364 bill from Puget Sound Energy. It blew my mind. We had been paying our
budget billing amount on time every month for the entire year, and I knew our settlement
month was coming up, and I expected there to be a balance, but I had no idea that it
was going to be that high. Of course, there was no way we could pay that high amount by ourselves. At that point in time
we were relying on my husband’s disability income to get by, and $3,364 was just ludicrous, it just wasn’t going to happen. So, today I’m gonna tell you how that high power bill led us to $2,300
in grants and pledges and $18,000 in free home improvements. When I talk to people about this the first question I’m always asked is, how on earth did you get
a power bill that high? Well, the story sounds
like a comedy of errors. It’s a mess. When I first contacted Puget
Sound Energy about the bill, they called it the worst case of budget billing mismanagement they’d ever seen. Typically, you can’t
enroll in budget billing until you’ve lived in the
same home for about a year unless you’re working
with a company that does their budget billing on a rotating cycle. Puget Sound Energy doesn’t do that, and they still let us enroll after just a few months of living in the home, so what they did is base our payments on the previous homeowner’s usage, which, for us, was a major mistake. The previous homeowners
were an elderly couple, and we had a young family of seven with a very technology-driven life, so we used far more electricity than the previous homeowner had done. And on top of that, when they
were setting up our account the company only charged
us half of what they were supposed to because of
an issue in their calculation. We didn’t know any of this
until it was far too late. You would think we would know that we were paying far less than we should have been, but in reality, we were still
paying $300 on each bill, and that’s about on
par with what we’d been paying in our previous rental home, so it seemed to us that everything was fine until we got that enormous bill. The first representative I spoke to at the company was rightfully horrified about what had happened with our account. She was very apologetic and she promised that the company would work with us. When she escalated me to
her supervisor, however, the best deal the company
was willing to offer was three equal payments
of just $1,121.33. Of course, during this time they also wanted us to keep up on our new budget billing payment of about $800 a month. There was absolutely no way that my family could afford $2,000 a
month in power bills. It just wasn’t gonna happen. Eventually, the company offered us five equal payments of just $672, but this was still far
more than my husband and I could afford on his
disability income alone. We weren’t sure what we were going to do, but we knew that we were going to need a lot of help to get through this. As I said earlier in this video, we eventually received $2,300 in grants and about $18,000 in
free home improvements. All of this assistance came from three amazing community agencies, and that’s what I’m
gonna tell you about now. My first call was to our local
Community Action Council. We set up an appointment and we were asked to bring a lot of documentation. We needed to bring our power
bill, our income statement, our Social Security cards for
everyone in the household, lots of different paperwork,
but it was so worth it. In that first appointment they gave us a thousand dollar pledge
toward the power bill, which brought our balance down to $2,364, and then they also asked us if we wanted to receive weatherization assistance. Now, the weatherization
assistance didn’t seem that important at the time because I was just blindsided by that
enormous power bill and that’s the only thing
I was really focused on, but it turns that in the long-term, the weatherization assistance was worth so much more than the pledges we received. They came into our home, they installed about $18,000
in home improvements, including a heat pump,
replacing floorboard heaters, they replaced windows, they added a whole bunch of insulation. They fixed up our older
home and brought our monthly power bills down to just $150. It was absolutely life changing. All of that assistance was coordinated by our local Community Action Council. Of course, this still left
us with $2,364 to pay. So, we took that same
documentation that we had provided with the Community Action Council and we went to the county’s
Veteran’s Assistance Fund. I’ve learned that many counties, I think, most counties in America have
a Veteran’s Assistance Fund. These funds are set aside
for low income veterans and their families who
have specific urgent needs. They don’t help with all needs, but they do help with some needs. One of the needs that our
agency helps with is utilities. So, we brought that paperwork in and they pledged an additional $800
toward our power bill, which left us with just $1,564 to pay. Around this time a disgruntled neighbor called CPS on our family, although the accusation was completely ludicrous and was
quickly deemed unfounded. The CPS caseworker asked if there was anything they could do for our family. I jokingly said, well, unless you’re gonna pay our power bill, I think we’re probably fine,
and that led to a discussion of this insane power bill
that we had been dealing with. I told her that we had been to the Community Action Council and we’d been to the Veteran’s Assistance Fund and we were down to just over $1,500 left to pay. She called her supervisor and CPS pledged an additional $500 toward our power bill, which brought the balance
we owed down to just $1,064. I took this new balance
back to Puget Sound Energy and asked for that same
five-month payment plan. That reduced our payment
plan amount to $212 a month, which wasn’t easy, but
it was still possible. I also asked to be removed
from budget billing because with the way they
calculated budget billing they were gonna average
our entire last year’s worth of usage for our new year’s bills. After the weatherization
work that had been done, our bills were nowhere near that high. So, with all of that in mind, we were able to go forward
and keep the electricity on and not struggle with
those high bills anymore. I realize that the majority of this video has been very specific
to me and my family. I know that not all of you are veterans, not all of you are working
with CPS, and hopefully, not all of you are wrestling
with $3,000 power bills. But I do know that many of our readers and viewers are struggling
to keep the power on. You guys are struggling with
inadequate heating and cooling and older, energy inefficient
homes like mine was. That’s why we’re going
through and researching all the power companies in
America, state by state, to find out what help is available for you when you need it most. If you need help with your power bill, you can find help at
LowIncomeRelief.com/Power. Need help? At Low Income Relief
we’re dedicated to helping low income families save
money and get free stuff. If there’s anything you need, subscribe to our channel
and find all the ways we can help you at LowIncomeRelief.com. Have a great day.

14 thoughts on “Our $3,364 Power Bill = $18,000 in Free Home Improvements

  1. In my state, they used to replace bad roofs, heating units, but not efficient, doors and windows. They no longer do that. They will insulate the home and exchange your heating unit. If it's an oil furnace, but a gas one would be more efficient, they won't change it. You coukd have a new oil furnace, but no money to fill the tanks all winter. Use less. Hope you can help some ppl.

  2. My elec almost behind $2000 one month $702 outrages.Ever since new meter in it higher.They said b ok till April 1st.on ss b hard get that.not know what to do

  3. Icap won't help me with my electric bill because i don't have a furnace and use space heaters they told me to buy a furnace and they'll help me. I can't afford a furnace. Also don't qualify for the weatherization program either.

  4. Great vid!! Do u have information on how to own a home on the Section 8 homeowners program or how to obtain information on these types of programs? Thanks 👍😎

  5. In our area, if you get help from the community action for winter utillities, they will immediately ask the power company to put a code on your account NOT TO SHUTOFF the household. Then they took the backlog & added it to the next 5-6 months. Then they were willing to make 12 month equal amounts based on what I had calculated based on actual figures, not their "14" months in a year calculation.

  6. I so love just for making these videos in hopes or help all who struggle on a daily struggle I barely get by n it is s.p true that after playing rent n other bills when my light bill is so high someone's I have to do without getting groceries because there's no money left n we all need our lights, I'm in the same position I play 500 in rent but the place needs major work furnace is broke so I tip have to use electric heater's I owned my own trailer but the slumlord illegally took people's trailer's n ivicted them n the law let him, which left many homeless n had to rent anything they can find, he lied in court n because we had no chance to show our deeds n rent receipts we didn't have a fair chance to show that he took our money but ivicted us for no reason just because he could, this man does not keep his park clean nor does he fix anything we had to clean it n or is so crime infested I was robbed, home destroyed, n tortured on a daily n nightly torture of people breaking our doors of shooting all the time n still us victims r in shock as how much n how long this had been happening n still no one had stopped it I pray every day n night that someone will bring us justice for all the horrible things we've had to endure n all we lost, please pray for us that some one help's us hey back some of what we lost God bless you all…

  7. How could they make you pay for their mistake😡?? Our electric bill in the winter averages $700 a month. We applied for the weatherization program….still waiting.

  8. I got qualified for that program too and my snap refund from paying $300 month bills granted me $1200 I didn't have to pay a bill for 9 months,and I have a new gas water heater and a new gas heater and total new insulated under my trailer home and it's the dead of winter and my bill is only $135😆😃blessed

  9. Your story is wonderful
    I'm wondering if you know how I can find help with house repairs in my area?
    I am a single grandmother who just got permanent gaurdianship
    I am with disabilities
    I do not understand alot of these things and how they work

  10. Learn to read your electric meter. You can keep a eye on usuage. That way you can turn off non essential items. Putting things on strips, also stops instant on things like TVs drawing electric.

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