The United Way of Bruce Grey is already seeing a dramatic increase in the number of people requesting help from the Utility Assistance program.
Francesca Dobbyn says 165 families were seeking assistance in the first three weeks of this year for a total of $73,000. She says that is a third of all of the people who needed the program last year.
51 families asked over $21,000 to help with their union gas bill. The average bill is $450.
20 applicants needed $10,000 in support from Hydro One, with the average bill at over $1,000.
31 residents applied for $11,000. in financial support for their Westario bills. Dobbyn says the average bill is about $400. because Westario will disconnect customers in the winter so bills don't get as high.
There were 63 applicants looking for over $31,000 in support for wood, propane, and oil bills.
Financial support for wood, propane, and oil bills is entirely fund raised from the community.
Last year, over $120,000. was raised to address that need.