Last winter slam

Last winter slammed the south Wood County area

Many residents rely on propane to heat their homes when the weather turns chilly. While prices for propane have increased over time, they exploded last year. The winter of 2012–13 saw Wisconsin propane prices at a reported peak of $1.57 per gallon, but in the winter of 2013–14, they hit $4.49. During the worst of it, Wood County Human Services observed local propane prices spike above $6. Energy assistance alleviated some of this price shock for 3,212 Wood County residents (up slightly from 3,117 in 2013). Each family received an average of $515 to offset costs, but it was clear to everyone that something needed to change.

In 2014, local leaders, including Wood County Human Service staff, collaborated with state and national officials to get new energy policies. They advocated for a program that would allow low-income families to buy propane during the summer months when it is cheapest. And use that fuel in the winter when prices peak. This idea made it all the way to the federal agency responsible for disbursing energy assistance funds to the state. By July, Wisconsin had a “Low Income Summer Fill” program in place. Only 74 low-income customers in Wood County currently qualify, but it allows families to contribute $50 or more in order to offset about $300 worth of wintertime propane.

To learn more about this and other energy assistance programming, please visit: http://www.co.wood.wi.us/Departments/HumanServices/EnergyAssistance.aspx


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