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Energy assistance program loses support
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A trade association representing heating oil dealers in Connecticut says its withdrawing support for the state’s energy assistance program, which provides heating help for poor families. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

The Connecticut Energy Assistance Program helps households with winter heating bills – it’s administered by the state, but is largely federally funded. The Independent Connecticut Petroleum Association, which represents more than 500 independent heating oil dealers says its members are getting a raw deal and it’s recommending they don’t participate in the program. The issue is that dealers are required to provide oil under the program at a discounted price, which the association says leaves them out of pocket. By contrast, electric utilities can recoup their losses from ratepayers, and propane dealers are paid the full delivery price. Eugene Guilford, executive director of the Petroleum Association says it’s time for the state to take action.

Connecticut has long complained that the federal funding for the program is inadequate the state’s needs. The shortfall this year is projected to be around 15 million dollars. Legislators are due to hold hearings into the energy assistance program next week.