Help available for Franklin County residents with heating their homes

Many people are turning up the heat this week in western Massachusetts

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)- It’s October, but it’s looking and feeling a lot like winter in Franklin County. Snow and sleet arrived on Thursday and people are thinking about their heating bills.

“When you live here you factor in that you will have to buy oil, and heat your home that’s what it comes down too, said Barry McColgan of Greenfield.

When it gets cold, there are several ways for heating your home, including the use of wood pellets, which is catching on in Franklin County.

“We are seeing many people going away from fuel oil, propane and choosing wood pellets because over the course of the 5 to 10 years its been cheaper,” said Tim Van Epps, CEO of Sandri.

According to Van Epps, you’ll pay about $15 less for a ton of wood pellets this year because of the mild winter last season. Greenfield-based Community Action Fuel Assistance will pay part of the heating oil bill after a family applies.

“They don’t have to pay it back its free, but its based upon the family size and the gross family income they will receive an allotment anywhere between $800 to $260,” said Tracey Kellan-Masloski of Community Action Fuel Assistance.

The fuel assistance money is available to eligible families after November 1st. Thursday’s snow motivated a lot of people. So far they’ve certified 3,000 applications.