Energy Outreach Colorado Newsletter | Fall 2019

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From the Executive Director

Cold weather will soon by upon us and we are already preparing to help the many Coloradans who will need emergency furnace repairs or replacements or bill payment assistance to ensure that their heat and lights stay on through the winter.

The need for help is great and continues to grow when temperatures drop. For 30 years, Energy Outreach Colorado has been there to meet the critical home energy needs of our vulnerable neighbors. We continue to put our best work forward to ensure that Colorado households have a representative who will bring their voice to the forefront of energy conversations and decisions being made in our communities.

As you will read in this newsletter, our impact is great and the work we do truly changes lives. We are fortunate to have community partners like you who help us continue this important work.

Jennifer Gremmert

Annual Golf Classic achieves outstanding success

This year, Energy Outreach Colorado is celebrating its 30th year of helping households across Colorado afford their energy costs, and we celebrated this milestone on September 11th during our 16th Annual Golf Classic at Sanctuary Golf Course.

We raised a record total of $210,311 – all of which is going directly to provide utility bill payment assistance, help secure the health and safety of vulnerable households for the winter, and remove past due utility bills so families have access to housing.

We are grateful for the generosity of our event sponsors and guests who attended, and we want to give a huge thanks to Sanctuary Golf Course for inviting us each year, radio host extraordinaire Les Shapiro for being our morning speaker, and former Super Bowl Champion Denver Bronco Tyler Polumbus for joining us to golf.

See you all next year.

Help Secure Vulnerable Households

Bill Payment Assistance

The Bill Payment Assistance Program is designed to help vulnerable households who are struggling to pay their utility bills.

How does a person fall behind? Being a low-wage earner and/or living on a fixed income has become increasingly harder for Coloradans. Studies show that one of the top three reasons a person loses their housing to homelessness is because of the high cost of their utility bills.

Households worry as they juggle finances and try to pay their housing and utility costs, medications, and food. Often the thermostat is kept very low or the heat is turned off altogether to keep the bills as low as possible. There is constant fear of falling behind.

A shutoff notice may take months to arrive, but at an average disconnect cost of $415, the ability to restore power and stability is impossible for people in this situation.

The Bill Payment Assistance Program provides emergency relief to over 16,000 households across the state every year.

The program operates year-round for qualifying households. It is impactful for rural communities where there are fewer resources available. This program is particularly helpful to people in an emergency during the off-months of the State’s LEAP program (May through October). EOC believes that no one should be forced to live without this vital resources, and our Bill Payment Assistance Program directly addresses that need.

A Rural Project with a Unique Challenge

Routt County, Colorado

The CARE Program provides energy efficiency upgrades in income qualifying homes to provide residents some relief from high-energy costs as well as ensure that equipment (like furnaces, cooling systems and water heaters) are running safely and efficiently.

We recently worked with Frances M. – a single mother in Routt County who lives in a 1990 modular home.

During our initial visit and the throughout the energy audit of the home, our contractors noticed a strong odor throughout the house. To make things worse, Frances and her children were experiencing respiratory concerns. The audit revealed several critical health and safety issues, primarily that the family’s crawlspace was inhabited by raccoons that had destroyed the heating ducts and furnace not to mention the harm done by the animal waste and debris.

“With the damage to the furnace and mess in the crawlspace, at least 70 percent of the home’s heat was being lost,” said Dan Mayberry, CARE team lead at Northwest Colorado Council of Governments.
These discoveries were classified as critical health and safety concerns and EOC approved the funding for immediate repairs.

“I knew something was very wrong but I didn’t know how to get help,” said Frances. “We couldn’t move because affordable housing is hard to find, but we needed help desperately. I am so grateful to EOC that our home is now safe for my kids.”

Support Work Like This

Are you Living in the Cold?

The approach of winter creates anxiety for many people who struggle to afford their energy costs. Running the furnace can increase their already hard-to-afford utility costs and often people are living in cold homes for fear of turning up the heat. Our Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) was created to provide support to these households – we believe that no one should have to live in a cold home.

CIP provides critical furnace repair and/or replacement for income-qualifying households. These are your neighbors – people living on a fixed income or are low-wage earners who have just enough money to get by. The program helps people with furnaces, boilers, and even wood stoves. With the help of our generous donors, and utility and government funders, CIP provides quick emergency service statewide for people who need it most, like Rita.

Rita C. is an 88 year old widow who has lived in the same home in an upscale neighborhood for over 40 years. From the outside, you would think that Rita had plenty of resources but in truth she lives on a fixed income that is just enough for the basics: taxes, food, and medications. She has been a longstanding member of the community so her neighbors had no idea that she couldn’t afford her energy costs.

One day Rita was rushed to the hospital with pneumonia. The paramedics found her living without heat and the indoor temperature at 56 degrees. A social worker at the hospital knew about Energy Outreach Colorado and called us to see what we could do. We were able to have a new heating unit installed before Rita got home at no cost to her.

Rita tells her neighbors: “EOC gave me a gift of warmth and health – I think they are angels.”

Why I’m Proud to Give to EOC

Last month I increased my monthly contribution to EOC to $25 and I am so proud that I can do that. There was a time when I didn’t even have a bank account and was living paycheck-to-paycheck barely getting by.

My son’s preschool teacher told me about EOC years ago when she noticed that Jacob was always sick and called me to see if there was a problem. There was – we had no heat. EOC helped turn things around for me – they helped me get caught up on my utility bills which prevented eviction, and they fixed our heating system so we were warm. Jacob is 24 years old now and he donates to EOC too.

We’re blessed and paying it forward for so many others who are in need.

Donate Today

Our Strategic Plan

EOC leadership, Board, and staff has worked collaboratively to update our Vision, Mission and Strategic Plan to create a strong strategic foundation by which we will support vulnerable households statewide.

Vision
All Coloradans can afford their energy needs.

Mission
Energy Outreach Colorado leads a network of industry, state and local partners to Support, Stabilize and Sustain Coloradans to afford their energy needs.

Values
Collaborative
Advocate
Impactful
Reliable
Effective
Trustworthy

Strategic Foundation
SUPPORT – Short Term
Bill Assistance, Furnace Repair

STABILIZE – Mid Term
Energy Efficiency, Behavior Change

SUSTAIN – Long Term
Renewable Subscriptions, Advocacy