by Jennifer Martin
Winter is one of those times where you just want to stay inside as much as possible. It's cold outside, so there's nothing like relaxing in the warmth and comforts of your home.
Maybe you have kids, and they're watching TV or playing with their overpriced electronics that they got for Christmas. Your wife or husband is preparing you a nice, warm meal. Outside, the cold rain pours down in the typical Cleveland winter weather - almost snow, but luckily, you're safe inside your house.
But for some families, this vision is anything but a reality. For one family in particular, they arrived home on Friday evening to find that their power had been cut off by Cleveland Utilities. A single mom and two children spent the weekend in the cold and dark, with food items perishing and work unable to be accomplished. Why? Because Cleveland Utilities choose to cut utilities off on Fridays - when people who arrive home after 5pm don't have a chance to pay the utility bill until the following Monday.
There are days when the temperatures dip down into single digits in this record cold winter. I can't imagine what it's like living in the north - but hopefully people don't turn off their utilities when it's in the negatives.
The fact that Cleveland Utilities can do this to people is a travesty. While I'm sure no one has a bad intent in mind, people should at least have a chance to pay their bills. Don't turn off the utilities until Monday at least!
But I'll admit - I don't know how business is done down at Cleveland Utilities. I do know that the Tennessee Valley Authority has reported profits while the rest of us are struggling to get by. I do know that gas prices are at an all time low, while my utilities bills are getting higher, and higher, and higher… and if I were more of a statistician, I'd be able to put this together in some sort of equation. And this equation doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
There is a way you can help, though. Call the Cleveland Utilities office at 472-4521. You can have them add an automatic amount of money each month that goes toward people's utility bills - right here in the community. It shows up right on your bill and comes out automatically, and helps people have the same heat, electricity, and water that the rest of us take for granted. Daniel and I can afford to pay 5 extra dollars each month - maybe you can help by paying a little extra.