DALLAS -- Heat waves sap your strength, and for families on the financial edge, they also strap finances.

Darobie Duncan from Pleasant Grove is retired, but his electric bills are as active as ever.

“You got July and August, and I know it’s going to be a big bill,” Duncan said.

Through Sharing Life Community Outreach in Mesquite, he’s able to have his single largest TXU electric bill of the year forgiven.

For him that’s about $300. He’s done it five years in a row.

Darobie Duncan
Darobie Duncan

“I can’t imagine not having help when I needed it," Duncan said. "It would be a real burden this time of year."

TXU sets aside $5 million a year to forgive big electric bills for its low-income customers. The non-profit, Sharing Life in Mesquite, is one of many non-profits that administer the program. That’s where Duncan signed up for assistance.

For people with more acute needs, Sharing Life connects clients with a federal government program that covers utility costs for six months. In fact, some families can utilize both the government funds and the TXU program.

“I don’t think enough people know," said Sharing Life Executive Director Teresa Jackson. "Every year, we have seniors and vulnerable people who have died because they are tucked away in a home without refrigerated air.

Teresa Jackson
Teresa Jackson

“That grieves me so very much because that never has to happen,” she added.

Last year, Sharing Life and TXU provided $390,000 of assistance from their Mesquite location.

They are prepared to meet the demand for more. In fact, they're hoping they get the chance.