Hot summer, cold winter, bad economy a rough combination

By Tom Roussey - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A hot summer with high air conditioning bills.  A cold winter with high heating bills.  A terrible economy.  It all adds up to a lot of people hurting.

Crisis Assistance Ministry says it's seeing a huge number of people who can't afford to pay their power bills.  Many are about to see their power cut off when they come to ask for help.

Crisis Assistance Executive Director Carol Hardison says this week the ministry is seeing over 200 people a day come in asking for help on bills or rent.

She says this summer they're seeing double the number of people they saw just three summers ago before the economic crisis hit.

"The gap is usually only two to five hundred dollars, and that's the difference in losing their electricity or completely being evicted from their home," Hardison said.

One person the ministry helped out was East Charlotte resident Marcus Taylor.  He recently received a $200 power bill that was far higher than expected.  He realized he didn't have the money to pay it.

"There was no way," Taylor said.  "So it wouldn't have gotten paid.  [Crisis Assistance] paid it, so I greatly appreciate that."