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As Utah Temps Drop and Energy Costs Rise, Help is Available

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Wednesday, November 16, 2022   

As temperatures drop across the state of Utah and energy costs continue to rise, Utahns may be eligible for heat utility assistance to stay warm as winter fast approaches.

Jamie Castleton, manager of the Utah Community Action HEAT Program, said it provides water and energy assistance throughout the year to households considered to be low-income and encourages Utahns who need help to apply.

"People who are living with a documented disability, age 60 and over, and then young children under the age of 6, are our three main target populations," Castleton pointed out. "But anyone who is really struggling with a financial situation, we can help."

While priority is given to the groups she mentioned, Castleton noted applicants with incomes below 150% of the Federal Poverty Line are also eligible. The National Energy Assistance Directors' Association predicts the average home-heating cost is expected to increase by almost 18% this year, meaning the average family is likely to spend around $1,200 to heat their home.

Castleton added while most people in the state of Utah use natural gas to stay warm, there are tips everyone can implement to save a bit more this season. She suggested making sure you turn off the television when no one is watching it, switch to LED light bulbs, and lower thermostats to a reasonable temperature, so your furnace isn't overworked.

"People will use space heaters for supplemental heat in their homes, and they're actually very, very expensive to run," Castleton emphasized. "Maybe looking into other ways of insulating their homes, you know, putting weatherstripping around doors and windows, things that can help seal the home more."

Castleton stressed it is important to know eligible clients can receive assistance once, in a 12-month period. The only exception is what Castleton terms "a crisis situation," such as a utility company's threat to disconnect service for lack of payment.


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