Thanks to the generosity of Duke Energy customers, along with matching funds from Duke Energy, the HeatShare program provides assistance to those threatened with disconnection of their electric service.
Following, you can read a few stories of those who have been supported by the HeatShare program, and the gratitude they have for the assistance.
If you'd like to learn more about the HeatShare program, please follow this link.
Mr. & Mrs. S.'s Story
Mr. and Mrs. S. are a married couple, both in their early 50's. Mr. S. was recently hurt in a car accident and required multiple surgeries, including knee and hip replacement, and subsequent therapy and rehabilitation. He was off work for an extended period of time and unfortunately when he returned to work, he found that he could not stand and perform his normal duties. He is now forced to apply for disability and the couple has been depending on the wife's salary alone. Their current expenses exceed her income, yet they are slightly above income qualification limits to receive some assistance benefits, like food stamps.
They are indeed a middle class family who were self-sufficient before a health crisis intervened. The couple got behind in their Duke Energy bill payment, despite making an effort to conserve energy and lower their usage. The winter heat bills are high. They were relieved to learn about Duke's HeatShare program and were awarded that assistance at the Salvation Army. Their disconnection was lifted and they learned about the Winter Rule Plan as well. They hope to maintain their account after this intervention with the assistance of HeatShare funds.
Ms. F.'s Story
Ms. F. is a 70 yr. old woman who is living on Social Security retirement benefits. She supplements her income by providing daycare for two families. However, one of the families recently had a new baby, so that mother is on maternity leave and now cares for the children. That left Ms. F. with only one child to babysit in her home, and much less income. She was unable to keep up with her energy bill and got behind and came to the Salvation Army for assistance. With the Duke HeatShare program funds, she received sufficient help. She also learned about the Winter Rule which she can utilize in the future.
Tracie W.'s Story
Each client we help with HeatShare is appreciative, and each has a story to tell. Following is the story of Ms. Tracie W. She is a single mother who has two children, a 15 yr. old son and a 13 yr. old daughter living with her. She lost her job and has minimal income coming in monthly. She came to The Salvation Army on Thursday, 3/17/11, for help with her Duke Energy bill. Duke personnel actually came to her home to disconnect her power Monday, 3/14/11. She begged them to not disconnect her and to allow her to come to her prescheduled appointment with me 3/17/11. They permitted her to do that, but apparently in their attempt to help her, they removed her disconnect notice and set up a payment agreement.
When she came to see me, there was no disconnect notice, which meant that I could not help her. I persisted, however, and called Duke. Eventually, by Friday 3/18/11 a high supervisor fixed the problems and restored the disconnect notice allowing me to make a HeatShare pledge and help Tracie. She was extremely appreciative of my efforts to help her. That was a nice success story which required me to go above and beyond. In the spirit of The Salvation Army, I was happy to do that for her as I consider my position here as a social worker to be my Christian ministry.
A Young Father's Story
A young single father of just 19 years old came into the Salvation Army office for HeatShare assistance on March 16, 2011. He was really trying to get his life put back in order for himself and, more importantly, his daughter. For the first time he was going to be allowed to have his daughter for the weekend at his house. He had his own place, but he needed to keep the electric on or she would not be allowed to visit for the weekend. With assistance from the HeatShare funds his disconnection was cancelled, allowing him to see his daughter that weekend. He was very excited to be able to have his daughter for the weekend. He could not thank me enough; he was practically jumping for joy on his way out of the building.
An Older Gentleman's Story
On January 27th an older gentleman came into the social services department at The Salvation Army seeking HeatShare assistance. I took the gentleman into my office in order to schedule an appointment for him to return so that we could provide assistance to him to stop his disconnection from taking place. After speaking with the gentleman for a little under ten minutes he informed me that he has had lung cancer for over three years and can usually pay his bills on time. But early in the month he was robbed by a friend's grandson and hadn't realized it until later. Upon reviewing his bill I had discovered that he would face disconnection the very next day. So, having a little extra time in my schedule, I decided to take care of the process that day. By taking care of his disconnection notice that day he didn't have to worry about losing services, which he depends on to run a breathing machine. Also, I informed him of the medical certificate option to stop a disconnection notice if he were ever in this kind of bind again. Not only did it make my day, it made his as well.
A Single Father's Story
On March 21st a client came into The Salvation Army office for a HeatShare appointment. He was a single, unemployed father who had recently lost his job do to an injury, had his house foreclosed on, and finalized a divorce in September. He told me that he and his two children, ages 10 and 14, had been staying at different friend's and relative's houses, but he didn't like going from place to place. After talking to him he told me how he was active in his community and even started the city's first pee-wee football league for the children of the community. In February he was finally able to find an apartment that he thought that he was going to be able to afford. However, when he got his utilities turned on he still had a balance on a previous account, which didn't stop him from having services, but it made his payments higher then what he had expected. Within a month he had a disconnection notice and a large sum was needed to continue his services. I was able to pledge the amount needed to help stop his disconnection notice. He was extremely grateful and thanked me at least three times while walking out the door.