If you’re poor, maybe you just shouldn’t have a winter this year. Government energy officials have announced that prices this winter for heating oil, electricity, propane and natural gas will all be at record highs: 28% more for heating oil, 30% more for propane, 7% for electricity, and 5% for natural gas.
In actual dollars, this translates to a hit of around $400 more for average families using heating oil or propane, and around $50 more for those using electricity or natural gas.
The National Energy Assistance Director’s Association, which released the figures, have called on the Bush administration to “immediately release money from the government’s Low Income Home Energy Program, commonly known as LIHEAP, to help poor families pay their heating bills as well as cover past-due high cooling bills from the summer.”
We grew up in a poor household, and trust us, one cold winter can wipe out an already tight budget for half the year. As the article states, “During 2005, energy expenses accounted for 20 percent of the income of households that received LIHEAP assistance, compared to only 3 percent for higher income families.” If you’re the letter-writing type, you might want to contact your representatives and ask that they increase LIHEAP funding.