Poor could face higher gas bills, less assistance this winter

Wednesday, July 19th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Tulsa-AP) -- Oklahomans who receive help paying their heating bills may get less assistance this winter because of potentially higher heating costs.

The state Department of Human Services expects at least $7,700,000 in federal funding to help with the Low Income Energy Assistance Program. Gas industry officials are warning - however - that all Oklahomans likely will face higher heating costs this winter.

Natural gas prices have doubled in the past year because of falling production and higher demands for the fuel from power plants. Analysts predict prices will rise further when gas demand climbs in the winter. Mel Phillips administers the state program.

Phillips says higher bills could lead to more aid requests which would mean less assistance per individual because of the relatively fixed amount of overall funding. He says the state paid out $8,500,000 last year to help about 65,000 households. Households received about $110 each last winter.

For more information on energy efficiency and saving on your heat bills, check out ONG.com.