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Hot Enough For You? Summer Energy Help for Coloradans

July 28, 2011

DENVER - The nation may be getting a slight break from last week's triple-digit heat wave, but we're not out of the woods yet. Colorado is in a typical summer cycle through this weekend: highs in the 80s in the mountains, 90s on the Front Range and approaching 100 in the southeast and eastern plains.

The heat can pose more of a problem for at-risk populations, such as seniors or young children, than the winter cold does, according to Skip Arnold, executive director of Energy Outreach Colorado (EOC).

"Heat kills more people in the United States each year than every other weather phenomenon combined. It's very dangerous, yet in Colorado, we usually don't think about it."

The National Weather Service reported that last week's heat wave could be blamed for more than 60 deaths nationwide.

Starting Aug. 1, EOC will release $1 million in emergency assistance to agencies across the state to help Colorado families pay for home cooling costs this summer. Information about how to receive aid is available by calling 1-866-HEAT-HELP.

Arnold hopes the emergency funds will not only help low-income households pay their current energy bills, but also help them get caught up if they got behind during winter and spring.

"We see clients that go into the winter owing $500, $600, $700 to their utility. What we're trying to do is get their bill to a zero balance so they can enter the winter on even footing."

He adds that it's a good idea to check on family and friends during hot weather, to make sure they're okay and are able to cool off on hot days.

More information is available at www.energyoutreach.org.

Kathleen Ryan, Public News Service - CO