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Amid rising fuel prices, ways to cut costs and get help staying warm this winter

Man looks inside a propane tank in front of a winter landscape.
With prices for heating fuels like propane and oil on the rise, we'll look at programs to help Vermonters struggling with fuel and utility bills.

A recent heating bill or fuel-tank fill-up tells you all you need to know: the price of staying warm is painfully high heading into winter. Host Mikaela Lefrak will lead a conversation about what Vermonters can do to cut costs and get help heating their homes this winter.

Our guests are:

  • Whitney Cassell, the Crisis Fuel and Warmth Coordinator at CVOEO, a regional nonprofit connecting Vermonters to resources they need around housing, food and financial security
  • Nancy Detra, Brattleboro/Guilford coordinator for Window Dressers, which provides window inserts built by volunteers across northern New England

Cassell said high fuel prices and inflation are leading more Vermonters to look into fuel assistance this winter.
That affects new and old clients living on tight budgets.

"Our clients that have fixed incomes, their income is not increasing, but the price of fuel certainly is," Cassell said.

"The other end of that scale is, maybe folks who have been able to pay for their heating needs all along, and they might have a decent income, but that income is just not keeping up with the cost of fuel," she added.

Cassell said, when incomes don't keeping up with the rising price of propane, kerosene and fuel oil, she's worried about who will be left out.

"One of my bigger concerns this winter is the prices are increasing, but the income caps for some of the federally-funded programs have not changed, so you might be still 'outside the box' for what some of our programs are able to assist with.

For people who need help heating their home, Cassell said the state of Vermont offers income-based fuel assistance.

Local nonprofits and faith-based organizations also run assistance programs for people in their region.

Find the Community Action Program near you:

Broadcast live on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or tweet us @vermontedition.

Editor's note: CVOEO is a Vermont Public underwriter.

Mikaela Lefrak is the host and senior producer of Vermont Edition. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. A seasoned local reporter, Mikaela has won two regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Public Media Journalists Association award for her work.
Matt Smith worked for Vermont Public from 2017 to 2023 as managing editor and senior producer of Vermont Edition.