Help available as home heating costs rise in New Hampshire

Many New Hampshire residents will have sticker shock this winter when it comes to heating their homes. Fuel companies such as Dead River Co. in Manchester said they are hearing concerns from their customers about bills that are expected to be double or more this winter.”Everyone is concerned about fuel prices, there’s no doubt about it,” said Jason Grower, of Dead River Co. Grower said that just like gas prices have risen, fuel oil is also pricier than last year.”You see it every day when you pass the gas station,” he said. “It’s the same exact thing for your home heating.” Fuel costs could rise more over the next few months. Grower said more customers chose to pre-pay for heating fuel this year to help offset the bills over the winter months. It’s now too late to get fixed contracts, but there are other ways to get help. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, better known as LIHEAP, is a state and federally funded program.”It’s about getting the word out because there are so many people who qualify that just don’t understand that they qualify,” said Eileen Smiglowski, New Hampshire fuel assistance director. This year, $94 million of federal assistance is available. The LIHEAP program won’t foot the entire bill, but it offers a range of assistance from $150 to $1,500. To be eligible for the assistance, a household needs to make 60% or less of the state’s median income.” A family of four , for example, can make up to $75,000 and qualify for fuel assistance,” Smiglowski said. For a single-income home, the qualifying income is $39,000. The program has already had 20,000 applications come in, and Smiglowski said she expects to see more as the temperatures drop. There are usually 24,000 to 25,000 applicants each year.”We are expecting 32,000,” Smiglowski said. “It could be 35,000.” Homeowners or renters are eligible for the assistance. Those eligible can receive funding anytime between November and April, but it can take up to 60 days to get that help from the time of the application.”I would hate to see people miss out because they have predetermined that they don’t qualify, ” Smiglowski said. Several organizations across the state can help answer questions about the various programs available. Find one near you.

Many New Hampshire residents will have sticker shock this winter when it comes to heating their homes.

Fuel companies such as Dead River Co. in Manchester said they are hearing concerns from their customers about bills that are expected to double or more this winter.

“Everyone is concerned about fuel prices, there’s no doubt about it,” said Jason Grower, of Dead River Co.

Grower said that just like gas prices have risen, fuel oil is also pricier than last year.

“You see it every day when you pass the gas station,” he said. “It’s the same exact thing for your home heating.”

Fuel costs could rise more over the next few months. Grower said more customers chose to pre-pay for heating fuel this year to help offset the bills over the winter months.

It’s now too late to get fixed contracts, but there are other ways to get help. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, better known as LIHEAP, is a state and federally funded program.

“It’s about getting the word out because there are so many people who qualify that just don’t understand that they qualify,” said Eileen Smiglowski, New Hampshire fuel assistance director.

This year, $94 million of federal assistance is available. The LIHEAP program won’t foot the entire bill, but it offers a range of assistance from $150 to $1,500.

To be eligible for the assistance, a household needs to make 60% or less of the state’s median income.

“A family of four, for example, can make up to $75,000 and qualify for fuel assistance,” Smiglowski said.

For a single-income man, the qualifying income is $39,000.

The program has already had 20,000 applications come in, and Smiglowski said she expects to see more as the temperatures drop. There are usually 24,000 to 25,000 applicants each year.

“We are expecting 32,000,” Smiglowski said. “It could be 35,000.”

Homeowners or renters are eligible for the assistance. Those eligible can receive funding anytime between November and April, but it can take up to 60 days to get that help from the time of the application.

“I would hate to see people miss out because they have predetermined that they don’t qualify,” Smiglowski said.

Several organizations across the state can help answer questions about the various programs available. Find one near you.

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