According to a recent New York Times article, the US Energy Department projects a warmer forecast this coming winter season. After enduring frigid temperatures and higher energy costs last winter, many American consumers will spend less this winter. Because temperatures are forecast to be warmer than last winter, that will mean less demand for heat.
The Energy Department estimated in a report on winter fuels that roughly half of American households that heat with natural gas can expect a decline of 5% in their gas expenditures. Homes that rely on heating oil can expect to spend 15% less this winter because of the recent drop in world oil prices. Homes that heat primarily with electricity can expect to save 2%. But the biggest savers will be users of propane who are expected to spend 34% less this winter, because of 24% lower prices and lower consumption.
The lower energy prices should help consumers, particularly seniors living on a fixed income, who spend a high proportion of their income on energy costs. There is also assistance available to help low income New Yorkers with the cost of heating their homes with HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program). HEAP is a federally funded program for assistance with home heating costs and energy conservation for eligible households. There may be assistance with assistance for heat and electricity costs, as well as furnace repair or replacement to keep the home’s primary heating source functional.
For 2014-2015: To qualify for assistance with heat and electricity costs, the total household monthly income for a single person must be at or below $2,194. For a two-person household, the monthly income must be at or below $2,869.
To apply for HEAP, you may contact your local County Department of Social Services. In Erie County, New York, the phone number is (716) 858-7644.
For more information regarding elder law issues, please contact HoganWillig, Attorneys at Law at (716)636-7600 or visit www.hoganwillig.com. HoganWillig’s main office is located at 2410 North Forest Road in Amherst, New York with additional offices in Lockport, Lancaster and Buffalo.