NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As colder weather creeps into Nashville, the Metro Action Commission is beginning to see an early peak of residents applying for help with their energy bills.

Typically, the commission said they receive about 4,000-5,000 applications a year for the low-income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP). In just under two months, they’ve received almost 3,000 applications.

Based on these numbers, Metro Action Commission Director of Communications Lisa McCrady said they anticipate having more total applications this year than normal and they believe inflation is to blame.

“When you look at a typical applicant, they are someone who goes to work every day, but because of the amount of money they’re having to push out in other areas, and if there is something that’s unexpected, that is a ripple effect on someone who already has a pretty tight budget,” said McCrady.

Applications for this round of LIHEAP opened October 1, 2022, and stay open through September 30, 2023.

The program helps with payments of electric, gas, propane, or other energy bills, including wood, kerosene, or coal.

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Awards range from $600-$1,000 based on need and are paid directly to your energy provider.

Even with the demand, McCrady said she anticipates the federal government being able to fulfill all applications that fit the requirements as they adjust state allocations based on requests.

“We’re very encouraged that our funders are watching and they understand the times, they understand that people are still recovering from the pandemic, they understand that individuals are still having a tough time managing all the different expenses that a family would have,” said McCrady. “We don’t believe that there will be any lapse in any funding at this time.”

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McCrady said they normally see peaks in requests when applications are first released, around the holidays, in the winter months or in the summer months.

“We would also want applicants to not wait until it’s a crisis mode,” said McCrady. “We don’t want anyone to be without power, especially given that it’s so cold outside, and so you don’t have to wait until there is a situation that happens to you.”

Complete and signed applications can be dropped off or mailed to the Metropolitan Action Commission’s office located at 800 2nd Ave N, Nashville TN 37201.