NPR Story
2:21 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

U.S. Releases Millions to Aid Low-Income Oklahomans Burned By Propane Prices

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Propane prices fell slightly this week, from a record high of more than $4 last week. But many of the 400,000 or so Oklahomans who rely on propane for home heating and cooking need more relief than that.

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services began taking applications for the Energy Crisis Assistance Program on Tuesday, after the federal government released an additional $4 million for Oklahoma.

As Tulsa NewsOn6‘s Dan Bewley reports, for many, the help can’t come soon enough:

“This is our one space heater that we have and it keeps the living room, the bathroom, and the kitchen and part of the hallway done,” Johnson said.

The Johnsons are like thousands of Oklahomans who are struggling to pay their propane bill. The cost of the fuel has gone from $1.85 a gallon in the fall to nearly $5 a gallon in late January.

“I’m worried about paying for it because I can’t do it, I seriously can’t do it,” Johnson said. “I have a very short income right now, it’s a very small income and it’s hard to do it.”

People who meet certain income guidelines and are three days or closer to running out of propane can qualify for a one-time payment of up to $650.

The Edmond Sun reports DHS also has about $600,000 in donations from Oklahoma utility companies to work with.

Money will be available until it runs out. ECAP is part of the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program funded by Congress.

Copyright 2014 StateImpact Oklahoma. To see more, visit http://stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma/.