Energy assistance program for low-income households set to run out of money

The statewide energy assistance program will run out of money at the end of the month if legislators fail to restore the nearly $2 million in funding that was cut, the head of the program says.

“If we don’t get something soon then we won’t have money. It’s sad,” said Patricia Wrice, executive director of the non-profit Operation Fuel.

Operation Fuel is operating on a much smaller budget this year — $1.75 million versus the $6 million it used last year to help 13,000 households with their energy costs. For the current fiscal year ending June 30, the non-profit received $750,000 from the state and depleted their $1 million in money privately raised.

Wrice said low-income families and the elderly could soon begin seeing their utilities shut off if the legislature does not restore funding in a deficit mitigation package.

“If they can’t restore the $2 million then we are asking, ‘please just restore half of that,'” she said.