GURNEE, Ill. (CBS) — Agencies that provide emergency help for utility bills in Lake County are beginning to see a backlog.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports, the economy is to blame.

The Lake County News-Sun recently reported on a Gurnee woman who had a $300 past due ComEd bill. She went to the usual assistance programs – Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, and her local township – but she quickly found out she had to wait.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports

The agencies set up to help are being inundated, the News-Sun reports.

For example, it is taking as long as three months to get an appointment for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program for winter heating assistance.

The News-Sun reports Catholic Charities in Lake County is expending its funds for assistance by the first week of each month, and the Salvation Army’s in-house utility fund has dried up.

The Community Action Partnership of Lake County told the News-Sun the need for assistance has probably tripled over the last two years.