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Cold Temperatures Put Strain On Those Relying On Federal Fuel Assistance

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BOSTON (CBS) – The recent cold temperatures are putting a strain on heating budgets, especially for those who rely on federal fuel assistance.

That one-time federal fuel assistance is around $1,100.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

When it gets this cold, you crank up the heat but if you’re depending on fuel assistance you can only turn up that thermostat so high for so long.

An out of work carpenter from the South Shore has had a rough go of it lately and needs federal fuel assistance.

But with temperatures so cold, it puts a demand on the system.

He told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens that he tries not to use much heating oil and keeps his thermostat low; 56 degrees during the day and 50 at night and wears a lot of layers.

Concerned that the money and the heating oil will run out before winter’s over, he is selling stuff on eBay to pay for the next delivery.

The federal fuel assistance program on average, covers a tank and a half of oil. After that, residents have to apply to local organizations for help.

In Boston, Mayor Tom Menino has directed the Inspectional Services Department to expand its cold weather response resources.

The department is on-call to address calls about no heat, faulty heating systems and frozen pipes.

In the Massachusetts, all residential dwellings require heat at a minimum of 68 degrees during the day and 64 degrees at night.

The city says so far, they have responded to 644 no heat calls.

The city says tenants with heating problems should first attempt to contact the property owner and/or manager to repair the problem.  If the property owner/manager refuses to respond, tenants should immediately contact ISD during business hours  at (617)635-5300 or during off hours call, the Mayor’s 24-hour hotline at (617)635-4500.

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