Operation Fuel reports record number of Connecticut residents seeking help paying utility bills
It may still be summer, but the number of Connecticut residents seeking help paying their utility bills is already on a record pace, the executive director of a Hartford-based nonprofit said.
"We're hoping that we do not have to turn people away. Or we might have to lower the grant amounts," said Brenda Watson, executive director of Operation Fuel, which provides assistance statewide to people struggling with home utility bills.
Watson said Operation Fuel typically budgets $1.7 million for this time of year, and the request for aid is already coming close to that mark. She said she hopes demand slows before the October application deadline.
“It's really quite astonishing. We've never seen this many people apply at this time of year before," Watson said. She said Operation Fuel has received about 2,000 applications -- including an increase in residents seeking fuel assistance this time of year.
Natural gas prices hit a 14-year high in mid-August, and the U.S. Energy Department is raising concerns about the lack of heating oil inventory in New England.
Connecticut residents who need help can still apply at www.operationfuel.org or call 2-1-1 to find a location for one of its 57 fuel banks across the state.