If you have kids and are having trouble paying your heating or power bill – or even keeping your fireplace stocked with wood – a big sum of money is on its way to Guilford County to address that need.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Guilford County has seen a whole lot of federal relief money come its way, and, on Thursday, Jan. 20, the nine-member Board of Commissioners is going to vote to accept a lot more.  At the meeting, on behalf of the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services – which will oversee the distribution – the commissioners are slated to accept nearly $4 million to help financially challenged families keep the power on.

American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds have been allocated to counties across the state for “energy assistance” payments for households with children 10 years of age and younger. The money is to be used for families that are receiving Food and Nutrition Services benefits and others in need.

The county’s social services staff will use the $4 million in additional energy funding to keep the heat and power on at the coldest time of the year in central North Carolina.

Under this program, households that meet the criteria can receive $300 for wood, $400 for gas and $500 for electricity.

The money will be paid directly to the companies such as Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas.

Other counties in the state are also getting some of the funding that’s meant to be used in the current fiscal year.  Wake County for instance, will get just over $3.7 million in this round of energy assistance, while Mecklenburg County will get over $5.4 million. 

Counties with smaller populations will get significantly less.  Tyrrell County, in the eastern part of the state with a population of just over 4,000, for instance, is receiving about $39,000 through the program in this round of funding.