After a considerable delay, Operation Fuel, Connecticut’s statewide fuel fund, has received $1 million in state funding for energy assistance for low-income households.
Last year the state legislature approved $5 million for the fund’s 2009-10 fiscal year, but the money was cut back and held up due to the budget deficit. The fund did receive $750,000 from the state and had $1 million that it had raised from private sources. However, it announced earlier this month that it was running out of money and would be unable to help residents when the state’s disconnect moratorium ended on April 30.
Operation Fuel and its network of over 100 fuel banks will now be able to work quickly to help low-income households prevent shutoffs and work out payment plans with their utility providers, said Patricia Wrice, fund executive director, adding that 100 percent of the funds will be used to defray the energy costs of low- income households statewide.
The delay in receipt of state funds hit especially hard because during the previous fiscal year, Operation Fuel was able to serve about 13,000 households with a budget of $6 million, mostly from the state. And while Wrice recalled that last season was the most challenging winter in Operation Fuel history, the current year is nearly as difficult as Connecticut continues to face tough economic times.
Source: Connecticut media