Local News

High Home Heating Bills Leave Some Crying For Relief

Posted December 29, 2005 10:06 a.m. EST

— Home heating costs are up, but relief is down.

"You're talking about the cost of home heating oil has increased anywhere from 25-30 percent," said Wake County Human Services representative Carston Hunter.

Hunter runs a Wake County home heating crisis intervention program. He said the money supply is lagging behind the increasing demand for help from consumers trying to stay warm.

"Right now, the maximum allotment is $300," said Hunter. "And if you're paying out close to $300, you're talking maybe $40,000-$50,000 per week."

Some lawmakers are calling on the governor to give people a break. They want him to call a special session to offer some type of tax relief to consumers, particularly the poor and needy who can least afford higher heating bills.

The governor and some lawmakers reject the notion of holding the reins on fuel taxes. The return to consumers, they say, would be minimal and road projects would stall.

"If the savings were passed through, they would save about $15 a year, but they would be sitting in congestion," said policy adviser Dan Gerlach.

Gerlach said that in November, the governor had already set aside about $10 million to help families with their home heating bills. He said that should be the focus of assistance and not a special session.

But for consumers feeling the pinch at home and at the pumps, any relief is welcome.

"I heat my home with heating oil," said homeowner Jerry Frivance. "It runs $700-$800 to fill my tank."

The Wake County intervention program is quickly burning through its funding. Its $500,000 is down to just a little more than $100,000, and it's only December.

Previous Stories:

  • December 29, 2005:

    State Lawmakers Call For Governor To Freeze Gas Tax

  • December 23, 2005:

    Lawmakers Hope To Halt Gas Tax Hike

  • December 20, 2005:

    State Gas Tax Hike Largest In 16 Years

  • October 3, 2005:

    State Tax Partial Reason N.C. Gas Prices Among Highest In U.S.

  • September 6, 2005:

    N.C. Lawmaker Calls For Moratorium On State Gas Tax


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