Unpaid electric bills are leaving more and more Panhandle residents in the dark.
Xcel Energy reports an additional 5,000 more Panhandle residents have had their electricity shut-off this year compared to last.
The Amarillo Salvation Army says they have had trouble keeping up with the increasing requests for help with electric bills.
Major Tim Grider of the Salvation Army says are one of the few organizations able to help those struggling to pay their utility bills because of grant money given to them by the City of Amarillo.
He says those struggling to pay their bills should take advantage of the funds given to them by the city while they are still available.
"Please come, this is one of those rare times when things like this happen," he says.
Xcel Energy's Wes Reeves attributes the economy and inflation of household energy costs as the main reason for the spike in shut-offs.
"In my experience we've had customers who have been good customers in the past who have run into trouble." Many people have situations beyond their control and just can't pay their bills, he says.
Before electricity is shut off Xcel gives customers about two months to begin a payment program or to find financial assistance.
And Xcel is having to pass the cost of the extra two and a half months of electricity on to all of its customers translating to a few more cents on every electric bill.