BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – With Fall officially set to return on Thursday, temperatures are going down, but utility bills will be heading back up.

The United Way’s 211 service helps connect people in southern West Virginia who need assistance on their utility bills with organizations that can help with financial support.

Simply dial 211 on your phone, and you’ll be connected with someone who can point you toward the right organization.

Executive Director for the United Way of Southern WV, Trena Dacal said 211 gets more calls about utility assistance than any other service.

“What we’ve seen since the pandemic is just a huge increase in calls to 211 for calls about utility assistance,” said Dacal. “We especially see that in the wintertime when people’s utility bills increase, sometimes dramatically.”

Dacal added in the last two years alone, they’ve received around 3,000 calls from people seeking assistance with utility bills.

In the past two years, utility costs have risen exponentially for many folks. Some say they can’t afford the high prices.

“(My landlord) said well you’ve got to pay $500 this time because utilities are moving up,” said Robert Curry of Beckley. “I was like oh wow what’s going on here?”

Dacal said it’s not just utility prices getting higher, but the prices of other everyday necessities also on the rise, that is putting such a strain on people’s finances.

“On someone with a limited budget, if inflation increases the cost of their groceries or their gas bill on their way to work, that’s going to trickle down in how they pay all their other bills as well,” said Dacal.