One forecast says winter heating costs will jump eleven percent across the Midwest this year. The state says it's ready to help.
Two of the state's largest utilities say they don't think home heating costs will go that high. They predict either a slight increase or none at all depending on the weather.
But Sheree Dallas Branch at the State Division of Energy Services says they're planning to help more people with their heating bills this year. One hundred and fifty thousand people compared to one hundred and forty-five last year. The amount of assistance for a family of four will also increase this year by a hundred and thirty dollars.
Still, that's not a huge increase but could always change as the winter goes on. That's why Branch says they have a crisis fund set aside.
Fortunately, unlike other state services, home heating assistance doesn't depend on getting a state budget. The funding comes from the federal government and a benefits fund that utility companies pay into.
If you want more information on eligibility for Home Heating Assistance go to: www.homeenergyplus.wi.gov or call 1-866-432-8947.