ABC7 On Your Side: Lower energy bills

Noami Neal of Los Angeles got a new refrigerator for free through Southern California Edison's /*Energy Management Assistance*/ program (EMA).

"It turned out that she did qualify for the EMA program, which helps customers with new appliances, weatherization, depending on where you live you might get help with your AC or AC maintenance," said Vanessa McGrady, a spokesperson for /*Southern California Edison*/.

McGrady says the idea behind the EMA program is to help their customers conserve energy, and as a result, reduce their monthly /*utility bill*/.

As a single mother of two, Neal says she needed the financial help.

"Everything has done up, the taxes went up, so it's getting harder and harder," said Neal.

Edison also offers help to those having trouble making ends meet, whether it's from low income or the loss of a job. The Care Program gives Southern California Edison customers 20 percent or more off their regular monthly electric bill.

To qualify for either program, the customer must fill out an application and meet certain income guidelines that vary depending on how many people live in the household.

McGrady advices customers to call Edison immediately if they are going to have trouble paying their bill or if they believe they qualify for any of these programs.

"If you're in trouble, if you are behind on your bill, please don't wait until the last minute," said McGrady.

Southern California Edison says so far this year twice as many customers got their bills lowered than all of last year, and many more got free energy-efficient appliances.

The /*Los Angeles Department of Water and Power*/ offers similar programs.



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