More than 4,000 Lakeland Electric customers are behind on their bill, company reports

The cost of fuels like gasoline and natural gas is pushing Tampa Bay area residents' utility bills into uncomfortably high territory.

Geopolitical factors like the war in Ukraine have pushed up fuel prices. Hot weather across the world has also increased the demand for electricity. 

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From fuel to electricity to consumer goods – supplies are low and demands are high, creating a financial crunch for everyone. 

Catheryn Lacy with Lakeland Electric told FOX 13, unfortunately there's not a near end in sight. 

"You have this unusually hot weather, not just in the US, in Europe, and across the world. So everyone is using more natural gas," she explained.

Lacy also says 20 million people in the United States are reportedly behind on their utility bills; 4,000 of them are Lakeland Electric customers. 

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A ray of hope comes in the form of programs for those who can't keep up. Lacy said most local power companies – including Lakeland Electric – will help customers with payment plans. 

Lakeland Electric customers who need help should call customer service at 1-800-929-4876.