Orange County’s elderly and disabled in need of assistance with energy bills have a new friend who can help.

            Friends Helping Friends, a nonprofit organization that has helped Orange County residents for nearly 30 years, has picked up the administrative reins of Entergy Texas, Inc.’s equally long-running program, The Power to Care. The Power to Care will pay two energy bills per year for qualified elderly and/or disabled customers who may need help. Those applying for assistance have been going to the Orange County Chapter, American Red Cross. A recent reorganization, however, led to the need for a new partner to qualify applicants and distribute funds to those in need in Orange County.

            “We are delighted to partner with Friends Helping Friends to make sure the funds we provide remain available to our Orange County customers,” said Paula Odom, customer service specialist for Entergy Texas. “Over the last three years, The Power to Care has distributed almost $103,000 in energy bill assistance in Orange County. We average about 227 clients a year.”

            Friends Helping Friends began in 1986 as a one-month project to supply school clothing to neighborhood children. The organization now owns a permanent facility at 2112 N. 35th St. in Orange, is a United Way agency and provides a broad range of assistance, including teaching simple job skills to clients.

            Applications for assistance will be available at Friends Helping Friends three days a week. The times and days include 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday and from 9 a.m. until noon each Wednesday.

            Betty Horsley, treasurer for the organization, said, “We feel The Power to Care program complements our own programs, allowing us to easily help those unable to work.”

            Entergy Texas, Inc. provides electricity to more than 426,000 customers in 27 counties. It is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation. Entergy is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation’s leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.