Brrr. I had to turn on the heat in my car this morning. Got me to thinking that winter is coming. With the high cost of heating, whether it is oil, gas, electric or whatever, we get lots of phone calls here at the office from parents looking for assistance with their energy costs. Unfortunately, ASCONN does not have funding to help parents pay for heat. There are no special programs for persons on the spectrum. But, Connecticut DOES have an energy assistance program, although my understanding is that there are fewer dollars this year (so what else is new?). Go to the Department of Social Services website to find out about the program, what the eligibility requirements are and how to apply. Applications are being accepted NOW, so make sure you get yours in early, especially if there is less funding than in years past.
If you heat with electricity or gas, the utility company cannot turn off your heat starting November 1 if you apply for a “hardship”. The rule are complicated and depend upon whether you use gas or electricity and whether yours is a public utility or a municipal utility. A good resource is located here at the CT Network for Legal Aid website.
The best path is to call your utility NOW before the winter months and get on a payment plan that you can afford. Remember, though, that a plan only spreads the cost out over a period of time, it does not reduce the cost of your heating bill overall. Some of the utilities have plans that will also help defray the costs and lower your overall bill.
If you heat with electricity like I do, don’t forget to save money by choosing an electric supplier that may provide your energy at a lower cost than your utility. You won’t notice any difference in your service or your bill, just lower rates! You can also get an energy audit (mine was free!) where a certified person will come to your house and check your doors and windows for leaks, provide caulk and weather stripping, retrofit you with energy efficient light bulbs and give you lots of tips on how to save energy. More information at CL&P or United Illuminating.