The United Way of Greater Chattanooga, private donations, and local utility companies over the last year helped over 400 households by providing them utility bill assistance and other aid from a partnership between several different sources. The total cash provided was almost $70,000. The assistance was provided in the form of several United Way partnerships with Chattanooga Gas, the Electric Power Board, the Tennessee American Water Company, private homeowners, and other aid organizations.
For those that do not know, the PowerShare program is plan sponsored by the EPB that provide funds for families and customers to help them pay their electric bills. In addition to this, the United Way has partnered with other local utility companies to provide a similar program, which goes by the name of Round Up, in which customers can round their utility bills up to the nearest dollar to donate to families in need to cover the other utilities as well as other bills and emergencies expenses.
Participation in the various utility bill assistance programs is as simple as including a few extra dollars with your monthly electric bill payments. On the back of the monthly bill you receive is a checkbox to identify a donation that you can make, and it usually ranges between $1 and $5. When the utility company receives a donation from the consumer, the money the person donates is sent to the United Way, which will then proceed to distribute the funds to four local agencies that are working with families on a case by case basis. Those agencies that receive the funds and donate the money include Chattanooga Human Services, Signal Mountain Social Services, the Salvation Army, and Hamilton County Social Services.