Real Stories | How The Fuel Fund of Maryland Helps

We Help Those in Need Afford Home Energy

Real Stories

Inspired to be Part of the Solution

"I am inspired to be part of the solution.”
Thanks to supporters like you, the Watt Watchers program provides a fresh start for participants
Walter Matthews, IV is a residential counselor and entrepreneur. This past winter, one which many of us would like to forget, he fell behind on his BGE payments. He applied for the energy assistance program, but was told he could not apply twice in the same year. As quickly as he heard these words, his power was turned off. It was April 2015.  
With the power off, Mr. Matthews was given a list of resources for assistance. He ventured out to many of those places, in person, to obtain the information and help he needed.  He wanted to meet people face to face and fix the problem.  Unfortunately for him, and for many other vulnerable families
living without power, funds and resources were limited.  Mr. Matthews wouldn’t be defeated.
As a last resort, he checked out the Fuel Fund of Maryland’s website and used the online application for assistance.
“I loved the online application. I was so used to standing in line for information or to apply for help, that it was actually more personable to complete the process electronically than showing up in person,” Mr. Matthews chuckled. “The online form was great,” he said. “I hit the ‘submit’ button and I received a response the same day.”
Ed Hostetter, Fuel Fund Program Assistant, was able to quickly respond to Mr. Matthews’ inquiry and share with him what he needed to do to receive Fuel Fund assistance.  One of the resources Ed shared with Mr. Matthews was the Watt Watchers class, an educational program of the Fuel Fund that shares creative ways to reduce energy consumption and save money. Watt Watchers empowers people to take control of their home energy usage, and offers tips on involving all family members in the process - even children! The free class
is offered to all Fuel Fund clients, and an online version is available for those who cannot attend an in-person session.
“Watt Watchers was so helpful. I learned about ‘energy vampires’ and how unplugging appliances as well as using an energy power strip can help me save on my energy bill,” said Mr. Matthews. “I am more vigilant, mindful and consistent with my energy use. There are so many things you take for granted in life.”
So, how does someone live without power for more than six weeks?
“You just go into survival mode,” said Mr. Matthews.  “Fortunately, I work at night and I was able to rely on my family for support when it comes to food.”  Mr. Matthews is now better prepared for all types of Baltimore
weather, and knows he has the power to control his daily energy usage.
“The resources that I was given [Watt Watchers] have made me extremely mindful of the energy that I consume now. I am  inspired to be part of the solution now. This is a brand new start for me,” said Mr. Matthews.

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