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Conn. Home Heating Oil Relief Group Halts Applications Amid High Demand

(credit: CBS 2)

Home Heating Oil (credit: CBS 2)

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HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – Winter has refused to go away quietly, blasting the Tri-State Area with another round of cold, snowy weather.

One organization that helps families struggling to heat their homes said the cold sticking around so late in the season is complicating their efforts.

Home heating oil prices have never been so high, according to Pat Wrice, executive director of the group Operation Fuel.

The organization has spent $3 million this year providing fuel for families earning up to $50,000 a year but cannot afford to pay for home heating oil.

The funding was enough to provide 5,000 Connecticut families with grants for home heating oil this winter, but now the organization has run out of money.

Wrice said she is concerned they will run out of resources before the cold winter weather is done for the season.

“We’re pretty nervous about that because we know that after they come to Operation Fuel they have very little options available to them,” Wrice told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau.

She added the earliest families can apply for more fuel assistance is more than a year away.

“November 15 of 2014 is the earliest,” Wrice told Schneidau.

For now, Operation Fuel has stopped taking applications.

Wrice added that demand is so high for reduced cost or free home heating oil because the affordability gap has never been wider.

The affordability gap measures the difference between what households can afford to pay and what they actually owe for their annual energy bills.

Operation Fuel will hold its annual Burn Calories for Fuel 10K and 5K charity run on April 13 to raise funds.

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