Help to pay energy bills

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Many people throughout the state are still digging out from the winter when it comes to utility bills. This summer help is on the way from Operation Fuel. The non-profit has been stepping in to help low income families for over 37 years.

“One of the goals that we set for ourselves is that we will be around throughout the year as people fall through the cracks,” said Patricia Wrice, executive director with Operation Fuel. “We’re finding that because there isn’t anything but Operation Fuel open for people for assistance, that our needs are shifting more from the winter more towards the summer and the fall.”

Operation Fuel says it’s harder for folks to get help during the summer months. “What we try to do with our limited resources is to prevent a shutoff or to get someone restored if they are shut off, ” Wrice said.

Family size 100% State Median Income 60% State Median Income
1 $53,649.96 $32,189.98
2 70,157.64 42,094.58
3 86,665.32 51,999.19
4 103,173.00 61,903.80
5 119,680.68 71,808.41
6 136,188.36 81,713.02
7 139,283.55 83,570.13
8 142,378.74 85,427.24
Info: 211CT.org
CT Dept. of Social Services

According to Operation Fuel, one in every five residents in Connecticut needs help with their utility bills and are going without the basic needs. “It’s not even AC,” Wrice said. “They can’t use the fan, they can’t use the refrigerator to cool. Many people have electric (water) heaters and that means they can’t use hot water to wash dishes or take baths .”

The program Operation Fuel helps lower-income working families the elderly and disabled individuals who are in financial crisis and not eligible for energy assistance from government-funded programs. The non-profit is pitching in a maximum grant of $500 per household if you qualify. According to the organization, the need for help has grown by 70 percent this year.

“People don’t have control over the economy and they certainly don’t have control over the weather,” wrice said, “and we just came off, if not the coldest weather on record it was pretty close.”

If you have received energy assistance from Operation Fuel within the past 12 months you are not eligible. To find out if you quality for the program call the state infoline 211.

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