Macon-Bibb EOC adopts a new program to help residents’ energy bills

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – One local community agency is helping macon-bibb residents pay their energy bills.The company came up with a new way to better serve others in the process.

 “That’s something that they should have done years ago,” says Symenthia Smith.

Smith is relieved after being able to adjust to the new heating assistance program. macon-bibb’s  economic opportunity council uses the program, also known as the low-income energy assistance program, to pay for residents’ energy bills. People can receive up to 350-dollars toward their bills.

In the past, residents would camp out overnight at local churches to get the service.

“I stand in line plenty of times, it be so cold out there, but I did,” adds Shirley Demps. Demps has received the assistance many times.

“At times we had to go out there and stand all night, one time we went out there 7:30 the morning before and we still didn’t get in, until that next morning,” Smith explains.

Organizers wanted to find a way to make the service better. the new program allows residents to call an automated system and make an appointment to receive heating assistance.

Executive Director, Macon-Bibb EOC, Sarita Hill says, “This system eliminated the lines.It’s a great success. It’s been effective. The first day though, we got over 10-thousand calls within two hours.”

Some residents aren’t happy with the new program, but organizers say patience is key in the process.

 “One time we were getting 136 calls in one minute. The system will not be able to hold all of those calls because what they do, they put us on sometime when they don’t get through,they pay the money to keep calling the line back, so it blocks up the line,”Hill continues.

Smith adds she is not able to get around as much, but she’s happy to know there is another option.

“I’m grateful because of this new telephone system that they have. That you can call in and the automated system will give you an appointment for you to go to the EOC, she says.

The assistance is a first come first serve lines open up again on february 1st. the Macon-Bibb E-O-C hopes to help about 26-hundred people this year.

Categories: Bibb County, Local News

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