Home heating outlook: Good news for some, bad news for others

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – National Grid started charging customers more for electricity at the start of November, and Western Massachusetts Electric Company proposed a rate increase to start January 1st.

Gail Pisacane of Valley Opportunity Council said they were optimistic their fuel assistance would help families further into the season, because the price of gas and oil is cheaper this year.

However, Pisacane said of the 16,000 households in Hampden County outside Springfield that applied for fuel assistance last year, an estimated 25-hundred heated with electricity.

“It becomes a bigger problem because since we’ve always been focused on the delivered fuels because they were so much more expensive, the benefit levels are higher for the delivered fuels than they are for people who heat with a utility,” said Pisacane.

She said this year the maximum benefit for delivered fuels is 1,025 dollars, but for utility, like electricity, the max is only 700 dollars.

Valley Opportunity Council is accepting applications for fuel assistance right now. If you need help and live in Hampden County outside Springfield, you can call 413-552-1548.

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