February 27, 2015—As the cold winter snap continues unabated in the eastern side of the United States, many states find themselves with an increased amount of households seeking help from their local LIHEAPs. In an area of the country where a higher percentage of households use heating oil, families rely on vendors to brave the cold and mountainous snow drifts to bring precious heating fuel to their homes.
Many states, including Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut, are seeing heating oil deliveries slowed by deep snow and icy driveways. Add to that the increased demand for fuel to heat these snow-ensconced homes, and many vendors are struggling to keep up with demand.
The state of Vermont has granted vendors delivering oil a waiver so delivery truck drivers are not restricted to working a certain number of hours. Some utilities, such as the Energy Co-op of Vermont, now have delivery drivers working longer hours and on Saturdays to keep up with demand. In Connecticut, workers at Rymes Propane & Oil are working seven days a week because of the increased demand. The increased hours don’t necessarily mean increased productivity, as the snow impedes efficient delivery. Eddie Hohmann of A. Hohmann Company in Massachusetts has had to put two workers on every delivery truck because, he states, it is impossible for one person to get the hose through the snow. He also wants to speed up the deliveries to avoid blocking narrow streets.
For those who are in need of heating oil refills, many of these companies ask that customers do all that they can to remove as much snow as possible from driveways or access points, so the delivery trucks and workers can get in as quickly as possible. As the cold snap continues, demand will continue to be high, and more snow is in the forecast in many areas.
Sources: Media reports