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Evergy, Spire working to help Kansas City residents pay high utility bills through assistance programs

Latonya Baker
Posted at 7:10 PM, Sep 12, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One expense impacting budgets are energy bills, especially coming off of the hottest time of the year.

“The last thing we want to do is have our customers get in trouble paying their bills or get disconnected,” said Elizabeth Danforth, director of social impact for Evergy

On Monday, people lined up to meet with Evergy and Spire representatives to get some help with their electric and gas bills.

“Everytime I saw that light bill come in, I was like, 'I don’t know how I’m going to pay,'” Latonya Baker said. “I only get 65, well 75 dollars from the housing authority for my utility bill — that’s not going to pay my bill.”

Baker is out of work and struggles to pay her utilities, but keeping her air and gas on is essential due to her health issues.

"I have a machine. I have sleep apnea, so I have to have it on in order for me to use the machine," Baker said.

She sat at the table with Evergy and Spire, who she says helped her with outstanding balances.

“My light bill was like $926 and something cents, but now I owe them 152.62," Baker said. "My gas utility bill — it was running at like $180 at that time and they're still paying on that.”

Vernita Rodgers, manager of community and agency services for Spire Natural Gas Company, says its her job to assist customers through programs that can support with not only gas bills, but other utilities as well.

“Rising costs are always a concern, so utilities are on that list, so we are here to make sure we are able to help people,” Rodgers said.

Spire and Evergy say through their assistance programs, many people like Baker can get help.

Evergy says they still have funds available in their Low Income Energy Assistance Program and they also have other options such as payment plans and energy saving kits that can teach you how to save on your electric bills.

Both companies encourage people to sign up for help if they need it because they want all customers to keep their lights on.