With temperatures soaring near record highs earlier than expected, air conditioners and electric bills are getting a workout. What happens when those bills get so high you can't afford to pay? That's where Panhandle Community Services can help.

Panhandle Community Services uses both public and private funds to assist low-income families who cannot pay their utility bills, particularly the elderly, disabled, and families with children under the age of six. The Utility Assistance Program was created to keep the lights and AC units on. Low-income households who qualify work with the Panhandle Community Services to stabilize and cover utility bills, plus provide education to help keep utility costs down.

To qualify for assistance, your household must have an outstanding utility bill, live at the residence, and be at or below 150% of the U.S. poverty guidelines.

To get assistance, you must make an appointment by calling the 24-hour appointment scheduler at 1-855-459-3716 or go to www.pcsvcs.org/utilityassistance. You will select the Panhandle Community Service Center near you. When you come to your appointment, please bring your utility bill(s) and documentation of income.