Seen At 11: Assistance Is Available To Help Offset High Heating Costs

If You Can Find The Right Program, You Stand To Come Away With Big Savings

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — For most of us these colder temperatures could mean higher heating bills, especially this year.

But there are millions of dollars in financial help available to reduce that bill, reports CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson.

“We were spending a lot of money on heat just to stay comfy,” Stephanie Vonzerneck said.

It cost Vonzerneck $700 for just one month of heat last winter.

“It was just impossible to keep up with,” Vonzerneck said.

This winter it will be even worse.

“An increase of roughly 8 to 10 percent,” said Kelli Grant of Smart Money Magazine.

But now anyone can get help paying their heating bills no matter what their income level.

“There are government assistance programs for people,” Grant said.

In fact, individual states set aside millions of dollars to help people reduce heating costs. Consumer experts say you can also negotiate with your utility company over your heating bill.

“They might be willing to work out a different payment plan for you,” Grant said.

From payment plans to renegotiating your bill, there’s a lot out there.

Many states also offer low-interest loans to help consumers cover heating costs. New York, for example, earmarks $20 million a year to help with everything from paying your bills to weatherizing your home and even replacing old heating units.

“With any of these the key is just to reach out and ask,” Grant said.

Many states offer cash rebates to replace old heating units with more efficient models.

“You can get anywhere from $100 to the full cost of that covered by those rebates,” Grant said.

In addition — depending on where you live — you can sometimes combine these rebates with tax credits.

“Consumers who put into place certain energy efficient improvements could get up to a $500 tax credit,” Grant said.

If you heat your home with fuel, joining a “fuel buying cooperative” can save as much as 20 percent.

“You can get a couple of neighbors together and call up the oil company and you say ‘we’ll give you our business if you can give us a break,’” Grant said.

Thanks to one of these programs, Vonzerneck is expected to save big this year.

“Stephanie last year spent $3,500 to heat this home throughout the winter and this year she’ll probably spend $1,700 to $1,800,” said Mike Brown of BrightHome Energy Solutions.

These heating assistance programs vary by state and utility service, and have different eligibility guidelines and deadlines. You can find links to all of them here.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Craig

    Check out and you might be able to save a little more money for home heating

  • Kathy

    I am so surprised that CBS News would put a company on the news and promote them to hundreds of thousands of viewers without checking the company’s credibility and background first and foremost. Did they check if the company was in good standing with Angie’s List within the past year? Did they check to see if the company actually saved their customer money or even saved on energy usage? Did they check to see if the company cared about customers or gouging their customers for money more?

  • Harriet Laurin

    I joined NeighborOil in July of 2011. I told a lot of people about it, and each referral earns me points to defray the cost of oil. I have purchased oil twice now through NeighborOil. My first purchase was at a nice low $2.15 per gallon when everyone else was paying $3.50 or so. My second purchase, right in the middle of December, was ONE PENNY a gallon for 170 gallons. It’s a very nice program and you can earn points in a variety of ways. It’s free to join too:

  • NeighborOil

    This is exactly why was started — people have to look out for themselves if they want to save money and stay warm —

  • NAL

    Did the people who commented in this article ever consider insulating their home or even wearing a sweater or heavier clothing??

    No, being “comfy’ is OK when you can just apply for yet another ‘assistance’ or entitlement program

  • Waldorf & Statler

    Are you people blind or just Internet illiterate? Read the entire story. Every link you need can be found in the final sentence: “These heating assistance programs vary by state and utility service, and have different eligibility guidelines and deadlines. You can find links to all of them here.” … and click the blue link. Don’t be so quick to criticize.

  • L Goldberg

    I know no more now that I did after watching the news. Why refer people here if you are offering no additional info?

  • Gary Baggett

    guy, email me and I can get you any information you need

  • michael santarella

    No websites to look for help. You just repeates the news broadcast script. Thanks guys. I’m going to light some candels to warm up my room.

    • Gayle

      search for energy auditor in your specific area
      NJ clean energy program would also give you all of the accredited energy auditors in NJ by area code

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