Good news for those in need of heating assistance this winter. Roughly 5.5 million dollars of additional LIHEAP funding has been released to the state of Maine. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is available for people who need help with their heating expense. The assistance benefits from the program, so far, are keeping County folks warm.
Record numbers in the forecast could bring record numbers to your heating bill. But a helping hand is going around as planned for this heating season, despite the increase in cost for heating fuel.
Susan Deschene from ACAP, says “we have seen recipients get an average of about 675 dollars fuel assistance allotment this year, and what we’re finding is that although that’s comparable to last year, it’s not going as far because of the high price of oil and kerosene in the area.”
Deschene tells us oil has gone up 4 percent since last year, kerosene is up 3 percent, and propane is up 23 percent.
Deschene, ” typically Aroostook county pays up to 10 cents more a gallon than the state average but that’s not necessarily the case the last couple of weeks.”
Most people in the county use oil for heating fuel. But the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance program covers all heating fuel costs. The program begins funding assistance from the beginning of september to the end of April.
Deschene, “we have done 800 telephone applications this year, and we have done a total of 42 hundred applications all together, and we expect to take over 6 thousand over the entire heating season.”
Emergency fuel assistance is also available. Deschene says so far LIHEAP has helped 250 households in the county for an additional benefit of 400 dollars to the 675 for regular assistance.
Deschene, “but that’s on a limited basis and it’s first come first serve.”
Funding for the LIHEAP program is intended as a supplemental program an not necessarily to get people through the entire heating season. That’s a point of emphasis Deschene says is important for customers to remember, as the hundreds of phone calls a day come in from people asking for help.
Phone calls sometimes get backed up as some people are still waiting for their LIHEAP applications to be processed. Offices are available in Presque Isle, Madawaska, Fort Kent, and Houlton. But applications are only available based on the need for the area. Presque Isle office: 764-3721 Fort Kent office: 834-5135 Houlton office: 532-5311 Madawaska office: 728-6345