Winter heating costs are expected to spike: How you can get financial help

Connecticut

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — With winter weather approaching and heating costs rising, Gov. Ned Lamont is reminding Connecticut residents about home heating assistance.

Lamont and the commissioners of the Department of Social Services, the Department of Housing, and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) spoke at the Human Resources Agency Thursday. The commissioners said their agencies have resources and programs for people who need help paying their heating bills this winter.

“These are critical resources that are needed for people in the community,” Marlo Greponne, executive director of Human Resources Agency, said. 

Greponne said the Human Resources Agency of New Britain, Inc. has signed up 2,000 households for home heating assistance since the fall, and she expects there are more than double those who will need help this winter as prices rise.

“You heat with natural gas up to 50% more,” Lamont said. “If you heat with propane, about 50% more.”

“What we’re experiencing right now, in terms of high energy costs, is actually another impact of this global pandemic,” Katie Dykes, commissioner of the DEEP, said.

Experts said these are extraordinary times when the need and the resources will be great. The pandemic also means more money for resources like the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program.

“This year, we have $135 million to assist people with their home energy needs,” Deidre Gifford, the commissioner of the Department of Social Services, said. 

The money is available to homeowners or renters for any type of heating for those who qualify.

“If you are an individual and you make $40,000 or less, you may be eligible for this program, Gifford said.

UniteCT helps renters pay past electric bills so their power and electric heat stay on.

“We have served about almost 15,000 households, average of payment has been $1,500,” Seila Mosquera-Bruno, commissioner of the Department of Housing said.

“We also have programs available for… through if you visit energizeCT, you’ll be able to find lots of information,” Dykes said.

Information like how to get a home energy audit along with grants and rebates for insulation and other energy-saving measures.

If you need assistance, go to ct.gov/staywarm, call 211, go to a local agency in your community like HRA of New Britain, and they will connect you to all the resources.

Experts say this is the time to apply. 

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