Often utilities are impediment to working poor keeping afloat, so enter Gridmates, an Austin-based crowdfunding platform, designed to "help people keep their lights on".

"George Koutitas was living comfortably as a lecturer at the University of Thessaly in Greece when he was jolted by a television news report showing a family who kept their home cold and lit candles for light because they couldn’t pay the electricity bills. He realized the people lived nearby.... 'So the first thing I wanted to do was donate now – electricity credits for this guy I was watching.' But he could not find an easy way to do it. Two years later, the computer scientist-turned-entrepreneur has developed an online crowdfunding platform aiming to fill that void. Gridmates, the company Koutitas launched in Austin last year, allows the philanthropic minded to chip in online to help low-income people keep their lights on." -- Jim Malewitz, the Texas Tribune