By Ashley Dooley Wohlgemuth

By Kisha Thomas

Too many households in our community do not get a reprieve from the heat.

Click here to read the entire July 2019 newsletter

It’s 97° outside and has been for the last four days. The heat is oppressive, especially at the end of a hard day’s work. Most of us can’t wait to escape to an air-conditioned room, to feel the burst of cool air upon our skin, refreshing our outlook and relaxing tense muscles. However, for too many households in our community, their home is not a reprieve from the heat, instead, their discomfort and burdens are intensified by an inability to pay escalating electric bills.

This time of year, Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph sees a dramatic spike in requests for utility assistance. Vulnerable households face the ever-increasing cost of utilities, and at times, are forced to choose between paying utilities or paying their rent. During the month of June alone, the Welcome Center in Kansas City received $86,316.69 in utility assistance requests while our St. Joseph office received $72,332.46 in requests. Combined, that’s nearly $160,000 in requests for one month!

Without assistance, many people will be unable to pay their bills and face disconnection.

For this reason, the Welcome Center at Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph works continuously with Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L) to educate and prevent households from being disconnected. KCP&L has even opened a walk-in service for the community known as the KCP&L Connect, where household members are able to meet face-to-face with a KCP&L representative to discuss their bills and work out payment options.

KCP&L Connect Services include:

  • Adjustable Due Date Qualified customers can coordinate payment dates to correspond with Social Security benefits or Supplemental Security Income.

  • Assistance with completing the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) application This is a federally funded program for low-income households who may be able to pay a portion of their energy costs.

  • Budget Billing This averages the last 12 months bills at the time you enroll, setting you a fixed monthly payment.

  • Cold Weather Program Customers with delinquent accounts can avoid disconnection during the coldest months (November through March)

  • Medical Customer Program If a member of the household relies on electrically operated life support equipment, a KCP&L representative can help you with the Medical Customer application form. You’ll receive direct support and information to ensure your safety during extended outage periods.

  • Pay in Person Kiosk You can pay your bill at 1710 Paseo Blvd. or at an authorized walk-in location

  • Short-term Payment Option If your account is past due, or about to become past due, you may be eligible for a special arrangement allowing you to pay over a period of time.

  • Special Friend Notification Customers 60 years of age and older who are disabled or expect to be away for long periods may give KCP&L the name of a friend to contact if payments become overdue. The friend is not responsible for payment, but can help avoid credit problems or service cutoffs.

  • Income-Eligible Weatherization Program This enables low-income families to permanently reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. This free service is available to homeowners and renters.

  For more information, contact Kisha Thomas at or call 816-659-8237.


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