It’s 25°F outside and 49°F in our house this morning

I will be the very first to admit that we are financially struggling. I make decent money but it’s hard to do so consistently for a number of reasons that don’t really matter at the moment.

One of the struggles I have is in regards to the utilities. I can do really well for awhile and then I can fall behind, unable to get caught up. I’m currently in the fell behind category and I’m unable to get caught up. Actually, I’m only behind on one utility and that’s our natural gas, through Dominion Energy Ohio.

I’ve been working very hard to get things caught up but I’m $510 behind and past due, as of yesterday. That’s actually pretty good, considering where we’ve been.

On the way to the funeral yesterday morning, I called Dominion and checked our status once again. We’d moved into a shutoff status overnight and I was trying to figure out our options. The only one we really had left was to go through HEAP or Home Energy Assistance Program though the State of Ohio.

We actually needed to recertify our percentage of income payment plan or PIPP this month anyway and going through HEAP can accomplish that. It also puts my account on hold and stops any pending disconnects. The trick is actually getting an appointment, which isn’t easy because so many people need help. The lines always busy and even if you can get through, more often than not, there aren’t any appointments available.

Anyway, I told the representative that I would keep trying to call. She said that as soon as the appointment is scheduled, my account will be secured and our service will remain, as long as we keep the appointment. She’s right. We’ve done this every year because we have to renew every year.


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    • on January 9, 2019 at 7:32 pm
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    I hope you are able to get this sorted out soon. I know it can be overwhelming, especially having three children with neurological differences. I’m sending positivity to you and your family. You aren’t alone and you aren’t a bad person for falling behind.

    1. Thank you. You’d be surprised how many people judge. You’re words made me feel a little better and I really needed that.. ☺

        • Jimmy Rock on January 9, 2019 at 8:07 pm
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        Rob, I hope that your heat is back on by now, and I’m sorry your family has to endure this, particularly while going through what must be an emotionally draining time.

        I hope that you take what Kim and Pony are saying and are able to digest it at a time when this immediate crisis is over. Keep in mind that while the message may seem harsh, I don’t think it’s coming from a place of judgment.

        I think it’s about people pulling for you to be able to break this cycle of constantly living on the edge of financial crisis. I hope you can figure out what’s working for you, and what’s not, and find a way to get yourself to a more consistently financially stable situation.

        I’ve been at the depths of financial dispair myself and although I’m fortunately now far removed from those times, I’ll never forget the feelings that accompanied them.

        Best of luck to you and your family.

        1. Hey Jimmy, it’s hard to see Kim’s comment without taking offense. I didn’t ask for advice and frankly don’t care what someone who only knows what I’ve shared, thinks. I know Kim means well, at least most of the time and we sometimes have a love/hate relationship.

          While I haven’t talked about because it’s not really anyone’s business, I’ve done financial counseling in the past. The issue is I’ve lost too much income and can’t work outside the home. We have something called family council and that’s a group from multiple agencies that all get together and try to find solutions for familes like mine. There is no magic fix this and we’ve cut costs in many areas but could also do better in others. I’m spread too thin and I need help in areas I can’t find help in.

          I worked us off of food stamps but like countless other families, we’re on medicaid.

          I appreciate you trying to lessen the blow of Kim’s comment but you really can’t. It’s hard not to see it as judgmental but like I said, I don’t really care.

          Have a great night Jimmy.. ☺

    • kimmy gebhardt on January 9, 2019 at 3:36 pm
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    I don’t understand how you can be over $6000 behind on your gas bill yet have newer electronics than I have. This sort of thing is a perfect example of why many people look down upon welfare recipients. I have said this before and I’ll repeat myself now- get some financial counseling. It is one of the best things you could do to help your family.

    • Pony on January 9, 2019 at 12:55 pm
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    Does HEAP offer budget advice with these appointments. I know your work is sporadic, but it sounds like maybe some professional advice could help here. We, a family of 3, lived on a low annual wage for quite a while. IT seems overwhelming once you get that far behind, but chipping away is the key. No cable or satellite, home phone was cheaper than a cell, no going out, just things like that we cut out and put that money towards a savings.

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