Hochul calls for enhanced awareness about assistance programs as energy prices increase
As the price of gas and oil continue to rise, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced increased efforts to educate New Yorkers on the best way to save money.
Hochul launched an enhanced statewide effort led by the Department of Public Service and Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to raise awareness about the various assistance programs available to help pay for heating and utility expenses.
She hopes it will help New York residents avoid potential service interruptions throughout the winter season.
In a statement Tuesday, Hochul said, "I have directed the Department of Public Service to ensure all the major electric and gas utilities in the state work with customers, and in particular, our most vulnerable residents to protect them from volatile pricing and educate them about resources available to them."
PSEG Long Island sent a statement to News 12, saying "PSEG Long Island is aware of the governor's announcement and are committed to continuing to work with the state of New York and LIPA to mitigate energy price volatility and inform our customers of the various programs available to assist them."
In response to Hochul's release, National Grid said in a statement to News 12, “High natural gas prices are continuing to impact everyone this winter, both nationally and globally. While we can't control natural gas supply prices, we do hedge to mitigate market price volatility for our customers. We are determined to do all we can to reduce the impact on our customers."
Dr. Martin Melkonian, an adjunct professor at Hofstra, says one way to save on energy is to lower the thermostat.
“We probably don't need the type of heat that most people are using. And to the extent that we can wear sweaters and warm socks, these will make our lives comfortable without being much of a sacrifice,” he says.
President and CEO of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island Rebecca Sanin says there are ways people can seek assistance.
She says they can call their utility companies that have consumer advocates and assist them in bill payment plans and often with assistance.
"They can call social services or the departments of the aging to get the assistance in applying for HEAP or EAC for assistance in applying for HEAP," Sanin says. "They can call us and we are happy to assist them in enrolling in SNAP and connecting them to additional programs and making sure their needs are met."
Hochul also launched a campaign Tuesday to increase relief efforts for low-income customers to access millions in aid that are available is urging customers to enroll in energy efficiency programs as another way to lower their bills.