eye-3-yellow-3d-2-new-logo philly_kyw_new philly_94wip_new 35h_cbssportsrad_philly philly_wpht_new

Local

Many Area Families Grappling With Energy Insecurity As Cold Weather Arrives

View Comments
(The temperature is headed down to the single digits by Tuesday morning.  File photo by Christopher Furlong/ Getty Images)

(The temperature is headed down to the single digits by Tuesday morning. File photo by Christopher Furlong/ Getty Images)

Pat Loeb Pat Loeb
Pat Loeb's radio experience has the makings of a country song: s...
Read More

CBS Philly (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSPhilly.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSPhilly.com/Health

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As the temperature drops, public health officials say many families face a stark choice. Should they heat…or eat?

Officials have adopted the term “energy insecure” to describe households that are taking drastic measures to keep utility bills affordable, keeping the heat off or so low that vulnerable household members, such as babies or the elderly, may suffer.

Dr. Dan Taylor says he sees the problem in his work with children at St. Christopher’s Hospital.

“If they’re shivering too much in the cold, they can’t grow as well, they can’t develop their brains as well,” says Taylor. “In the summer time, if they’re too hot, they sweat more than adults do. Your growing body just doesn’t handle it well at all.”

Dr. Taylor says the problem can also cause chronic conditions in children to worsen.

“They’re more likely to have asthma attacks,” he says. “If a child has sickle cell, they’re more likely to have acute crises. If a child is a newborn, they’re more likely to even stop breathing.”

Low income families are eligible for help. PECO says it provides assistance to 140,000 customers, and PGW‘s Bill Montgomery says 105,000 of its customers receive help.

“They’re really targeted at making sure they have utility services,” Montgomery says.

Top Content On CBSPhilly

View Comments