NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Due to the high demand for energy assistance this year, Operation Fuel is pausing its program for the entire month of March.

Operation Fuel will resume providing energy assistance on April 3 and will reduce energy grants from $1,000 per household to $500 to serve more households, officials said.

The pause does not stem from issues with funding. Brenda Watson, Operation Fuel’s executive director, told News 8 that the nonprofit is financially healthy. The pause is to allow the staff to regroup and process 3,000 pending applications.

“This is about the mental health of the staff,” she said. “Knowing that we have nearly 3,000 applications that need to be processed, we can’t continue to accept applications on top of that. We must pause to get through the backlog so that folks who have applied get their applications reviewed promptly.”

According to Watson, Operation Fuel has provided nearly $6 million in energy assistance to more than 6,000 households this program year.

Funding for the program largely comes from utility customers adding one dollar or more to their monthly payments.

“We don’t receive any state or federal funding,” Watson said. “All of our funding comes from individual donations, partner foundations, and ratepayers.”

Watson said households with processed applications would continue receiving assistance, and those with pending applications would see assistance once pending applications were processed.

Watson said anyone needing energy assistance from March 1 through April 2 should contact their utility company, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), or the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) by calling 211.

Operation Fuel will provide energy assistance from April 3 through May 31 or whenever funds run out, whichever comes first.