OG&E, Salvation Army Help Oklahomans Battle Summer Heat

Tuesday, June 24th 2014, 4:42 pm
By: News 9

As the summer heat soars, Oklahoma Gas and Electric and the Salvation Army are working to make sure Oklahomans in need stay as cool as possible with the organizations' annual box fan drive.

OG&E tells News 9 roughly 20,000 customers a month are on payment arrangements -- those are the people having a hard time paying their electric bills. 

Each summer, that number goes up, according to OG&E. Organization leaders say giving fans to people in need can help keep their costs down. Financial assistance to pay electric bills is also available from the Salvation Army. 

"They help me out quite a bit," box fan recipient Frances Terry said.

Terry got her fan during the quiet time of Tuesday afternoon. Most of those in need arrived Tuesday morning at the downtown Oklahoma City Salvation Army location.

"We started giving out fans today, and we have over 200 here," said Maj. Carlyle Gargis with the Salvation Army.

OG&E statistics show just how pricey the summer can be for customers working their air conditioning units on overtime. Nearly twice as many people had a hard time paying their bill during the record heat of Aug. 2011, according to OG&E.

In Aug. 2013, there was an increase of 35 percent of customers who needed help with payment arrangements.

"We try to make it as smooth and easy as possible for people because our goal is to get a fan in the hands of those people [who] need it," Gargis told News 9.

For Terry, the problem is an air conditioning unit that doesn't quite cut it. Some areas of her home won't cool down.

A quick application process at the Salvation Army is required for anyone who can demonstrate a need for assistance. Fans will be given away starting a 9 a.m. every morning at the Salvation Army building at SW 5th and Hudson in Oklahoma City. The Salvation Army is accepting new box fans or money.

Learn more information about the program or donate to the cause.