The gift of cooling

Ameren Missouri brings 25 air conditioning units to the Park Hills EMAA office on Monday. These units will be distributed to 25 customers who receive energy assistance through the agency. From left are Ameren employees Alan LaBrot, Matt Hutchings, Laura Klipfel, Brad Kearns, EMAA St. Francois County Community Services Representative Vicky Huff, EMAA Community Services Director Cathy Poole, and EMAA Program Manager Rob Baker. 

Twenty-five residents served out of the Park Hills East Missouri Action Agency location will be able to stay cool this summer thanks to a donation from Ameren Missouri.

East Missouri Action Agency will have 50 AC units to disperse which are divided between the Park Hills service center and the Cape Girardeau service center. Community Services Director Cathy Poole said that Ameren Missouri customers who qualify for energy assistance through the agency are eligible to qualify for a unit.

“These AC units will typically go to the elderly, individuals with small children, and those with serious health conditions that would be affected by the heat,” said Poole. “The need must be medically supported by a physician.”

The Park Hills service center for EMAA serves St. Francois, Iron, Madison, Washington, Bollinger, and Ste. Genevieve Counties.

“All energy assistance through our programs is approved by state guidelines as well as availability of funds,” said Poole.

The agency spent approximately $900,000 providing energy assistance this past winter from November 1 to May 31. Individuals who qualify for winter assistance are usually eligible to receive $300 in assistance for the summer if funds are available to the agency.

EMAA also provides assistance with housing, women’s wellness, head start, weatherization, and may other areas. People who receive assistance in one program often qualify in other areas as well.

The utility company, according to company spokesperson Jenny Barth, will donate 600 energy efficient window air conditioning units to action agencies across the state.

“In addition to the AC units, we are also providing sets of LED light bulbs to go with the families who receive the units,” said Barth.

Ameren reminds individuals that they should keep their air conditioning running in the summer months and not turn it off for fear of a high bill.

“We have all sorts of programs through our company and by partnering with assistance agencies,” said Barth. “We just ask that customers reach out to us for help.”

Ameren reminds customers to stay cool and check on neighbors often when the heat becomes extreme, especially the elderly and those with medical conditions.

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Matt McFarland is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616, or at mmcfarland@dailyjournalonline.com.


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