Bracing for a Cold and Expensive Winter
November 15th, 2007

As New Yorkers begin bracing for winter chills, they may need to start bracing for heating cost shocks as well. According to a report released by U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer last week, average heating bills are expected to rise between 7 and 20 percent, leaving residents here with up to $400 bills for oil and $100 for gas. The senator also cited numbers that projected New York City residents will pay $597 million more on heating costs this winter than last year.

To help people here cope with such extraordinary costs, Schumer called for the release of $150 million in federal assistance from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program contingency fund.

New York State receives and distributes the most of these grants in the nation with over $233 million in grants being authorized across the state last year. Over $32 million of that was authorized for about 466,000 households in the city.

But the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a national research group, found that in the face of rising costs, almost 208,000 fewer New Yorkers will receive grants this year under President George W. Bushs budget request (via the PULP blog).

New Yorkers that are eligible for the grants are automatically eligible for a weatherization program from the state Division of Housing & Community Renewal. The program improves the energy efficiency of a home by offering such services as caulking and weatherstripping, cleaning or repairing heating systems, and adding insulation, among other things.

By on November 15, 2007, 10:49 am
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