Missouri Residents Can Give the Gift of Electricity This Christmas

Missy Crystal

Surprise someone special with utility assistance as winter approaches.

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You can give a loved one or your favorite business the gift of electricity this year thanks to Ameren's popular program.Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Sometimes practical presents make the best Christmas gifts. Sure, scarves and perfume are nice, but they aren’t what everyone wants. Over time, presents like this often end up buried in a drawer somewhere— or worse yet, a landfill.

That’s why you should consider giving someone the gift of electricity this Christmas. In Missouri, generous folks can surprise loved ones with a Gift of Energy, as Ameren calls it. Ameren is a well-known company that provides energy services throughout Missouri and Illinois.

Gift of Energy donations can be for any amount, big or small. Ameren hasn’t established any monetary guidelines for donations as of November 2021, and you can donate energy services to an individual or business. It’s okay to donate anonymously if you prefer.

An energy gift would be a major blessing for many families

Practical gifts like electricity could benefit many adults, but they're often hesitant to say that when others ask what they want for Christmas. Instead, they request gift cards to grocery stores, gas stations, and Target or Walmart. Some struggling folks don’t want to dampen someone’s holiday cheer by reminding them that poverty exists.

Electricity is expensive, and many families can barely afford their utility bills. It doesn’t help that expenses keep increasing.

Energy costs have skyrocketed

Electricity costs more than it has in decades. Coal and gas prices are also at historic highs.

If you’ve noticed an absence of Christmas lights in your neighborhood, maybe it’s because nobody can afford to illuminate their homes this year. In fact, some of your neighbors may be shivering inside a cold, dark house as you read this.

This winter, electric bills are expected to jump 15% higher than usual, and energy costs could double for families using natural gas to heat their homes. This inflation could cause major issues for people who were already struggling with utility costs.

Instead of helping each other, people often refer loved ones to churches and other community agencies. This may seem like a good idea, but have you actually used these organizations yourself? If the answer is no, you may not realize that funds aren’t guaranteed, wait times are long, and disconnections can happen before bills get paid.

It can take days — sometimes even weeks — to get an appointment for energy assistance. Once you’re finally in the door, that doesn’t mean you get fast cash for your bills. You have to prove you’re worthy of funds by providing stacks of paperwork and filling out lengthy applications. Depending on how backed up the agency workers are, this process may tack a few more weeks onto your wait time.

In the meantime, you could get stuck without electricity, gas, or water. That’s why it’s important for people to help their community whenever possible.

You aren’t responsible for anyone else’s utility bills, but if you have the means to help, consider doing so. Surprising someone with the gift of electricity this Christmas could make their winter brighter, warmer, and safer. Happy holidays, indeed.

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Full-time mom, student, and writer. I cover everything from parenting and personal finance to relationships and health.

O Fallon, MO
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