Gov. Mike Easley announced a plan Wednesday to provide nearly $10 million in public and private resources to make sure low-income residents receive assistance with the high heating costs expected this winter.
"The unusually high fuel prices this year highlight the need for a national energy solution," Easley said. "I have joined with other governors to urge Washington to act, but in the meantime, we are going to do what we can to help our most vulnerable citizens stay warm this winter."
The state will provide $6.5 million. Utility companies will provide $3.4 million in assistance. The money is expected to help about 70,000 North Carolina families.
In addition to paying up to $300 in utility bills for families, the state will help winterize some homes, by fixing insulation, broken windows and caulking. The money from the state will need to be approved by the Council of State.
Officials say natural gas, heating oil and propane prices are expected to rise sharply for the winter. According to some estimates, the price increases will raise the average home utility bills by $300 to $400 this winter.
Families in financial need may contact their local Division of Social Services office for more information.
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