Reporting Lauren Leamanczyk
BOSTON (CBS) – Federal Assistance has run out for nearly everyone who uses home heating oil to heat their house.
The group ABCD, who helps connect those in need with fuel assistance, says all 5,000 of their customers in Boston who use home heating oil have used up their benefits this winter. Across the state 50,000 households are in the same predicament.
The problem is a cut to aid, combined with a cold winter and high oil costs.
Helen, a 90-year-old woman living in Newton, says she isn’t sure what she’ll do when her tank runs dry. Right now she has only a quarter of the tank left.
“I put the thermostat as low as I can and try to make it work,” she said. “I’m trying to make it until March at least.”
At Arlmont Fuel in Arlington, Harry Allen knows his customers are struggling. He says this is the highest oil costs have been in several years.
His clients who use fuel assistance have run out of benefits. But, it is affecting his regular customers as well. Many of them live in single family homes but are asking for less oil, or stopping their automatic fill ups. “We project for 160 gallons on an automatic delivery, they’re getting 100. They’re not filling their tanks and they’re also letting them get very low,” he said.
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ABCD’s President John Drew is calling on the state to offer emergency assistance to those in need. Last year Massachusetts provided $21 million to supplement the federal aid.
Home heating oil prices are currently at $4.10/gallon, the highest it has been all year.