Paying to Keep Warm

People enduring the Amarillo chill on a fixed income are feeling the heat from higher utility bills.

Cliff Burgess and his wife are paying the price for using twice as much energy in the latest bill period as they did for the same month last year.

But local energy companies are willing to help out...both Xcel and Atmos energy will set up a payment plan on a case by case basis with customers.

But Xcel representative Wes Reeves says, customers must call the company and request assistance first.

"Depending on their credit and their past history with us we will always be glad to sit down and talk with them about doing that... A disconnect is the last thing we want to do."

Reeves also tells us Xcel will put customers in touch with local assistance agencies for extra aid.

So far Burgess and his wife have managed to afford this winter s bills on their social security income.

"If we don't have enough we ll have to cut somebody a little short but we haven't had to do that yet."

While Atmos energy tells us they will not cut service to customers under these temperatures, Xcel energy notes they are not under any obligation to keep providing power because of below- freezing conditions.

Reporting in north Amarillo, -Julia Bagg, NewsChannel 10