Charles M. of Asheboro, North Carolina, watched as a young couple he knew built a home across the street from his own.
An older adult, he and his wife were dealing with some health issues and were on fixed incomes, but that was not what kept Charles up at night. It was worry over his aging, badly corroded fuse box.
“I could barely close my eyes at night, because I was afraid the house might catch fire,” he said.
Not only did the box itself look like it was in rough shape, but every time the furnace kicked on, the lights would dim.
“My box has been here probably 60 years, and it’s way out of date and one line was just burnt up,” Charles said. “It was dangerous; really bad and dangerous.”
Charles had investigated getting a replacement panel box financed, but that just wasn’t in the cards. He and his wife tried to put aside some money with the thought of saving enough to replace it, but that proved difficult as well.
“Once we’ve got our medicine filled and our bills paid, we don’t have any money left,” he said.
So, when Charles saw some workers from his local energy cooperative, EnergyUnited Electric Membership Cooperative, working on his new neighbor’s home, he strolled across the street and asked them to look at his fuse box. Of course, they agreed to look at the box and give him an opinion on what needed to be done.
“He opened the box and looked at it and I could tell by his face that it was bad,” Charles said. “He said it would probably be about $1,200 to fix and I just said, ‘Lord have mercy.’”
However, the EnergyUnited employees knew that Charles and his wife were in dire need of help, and they couldn’t leave the couple with a potentially malfunctioning box, so they put Charles in contact with Josh Cleveland, business development and account manager.
“This member had two panel boxes on the pole outside their home, underneath the meter that fed their home’s power,” Josh said. “The main box outside was very rusted and in bad shape from exposure to water and the elements. He really needed a new outdoor panel under his meter, and his circuits re-fed into a new box. Not doing the repair would have been a significant safety hazard and could cause potential issues such as fires and power loss.”
The co-op couldn’t just replace the box because it was part of a private system, but Josh had another solution: the HomeServe Cares Foundation. The Foundation is the charitable arm of HomeServe North America and provides free emergency home repairs that affect safety, sanitation and quality of life to qualifying homeowners.
“Our electricians immediately notified me of the situation, and HomeServe was one of the first options I thought of when trying to come up with a solution for this member,” Josh said. “Once we assessed, we realized that this member was going to need some help with covering this repair. They do not have the means for this type of repair.”
EnergyUnited EMC has made HomeServe’s emergency home repair plans available to its members through a partnership, so Josh was familiar with HomeServe, a leading provider of home repair plans, and its Foundation.
“We see HomeServe as an added value service for our membership,” Josh said. “Many homeowners are purchasing these plans on their own without much knowledge of the company who is behind the plan. EnergyUnited partnering with HomeServe allows our members to have some peace of mind and trust that we have vetted a reliable partner who they can trust with their home repair needs.”
So, Josh reached out to the Foundation on Charles’ behalf to see if the Foundation could take on the cost of replacing the box for Charles. The electricians were spot-on with their estimate at $1,200 and the Foundation agreed to fund it, while EnergyUnited EMC supplied the labor.
“There would not have been many options outside of the Foundation,” Josh said. “We would have offered them a payment plan option through our own EnergyUnited financing, but, outside of that, they would have needed to come up with the money somehow because the repair would need to be done soon. I’m not sure how that would have worked out without the help of HomeServe.”
Charles was grateful to both EnergyUnited and the Foundation for the repair.
“EnergyUnited did all they told me they would do and probably did a little more,” Charles said. “Josh was a gentleman of his word. And I appreciate what the Foundation has done for us. I don’t know what it cost, but I surely appreciate it.”