As the snow flies and Mainers fill their fuel tanks for the winter ahead, Governor Paul R. LePage is reminding them of an interactive home heating cost calculator available on his Energy Office website at http://www.maine.gov/energy
The calculator allows Maine homeowners to estimate their costs to keep warm during the heating season ahead based on different types of fuels, their costs and their efficiency in different heating appliances
For example, a well-insulated 1,500 square-foot house based on current fuel prices cost nearly $3,300 a year to heat with #2 oil, $2,200 with natural gas and $1,600 with wood or pellets.
"While Mainers have many considerations when selecting a heating system from installation costs to convenience, fuel cost is the ultimate decider for many. As folks prepare for winter, I hope this resource from my Energy Office exposes them to affordable alternatives and empowers them to make the appropriate heating choices for their families and budget accordingly," Governor LePage said.
Space heating accounts for approximately 50 percent of the energy consumed in a home annually and the numbers in Maine are likely higher given the state's housing stock is among the nation's oldest and many homes lack proper weatherization.
The reminder of the Energy Office calculator comes after the Maine State Housing Authority, which administers the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program known as LIHEAP, announced it had distributed the first round of that federal funding to 19,000 Maine families earlier this month.
Maine has received $34.9 million in LIHEAP funding this winter, with an additional $3.6 million held back in case of sequestration that could later be released. The Governor and his Energy Office are working with MaineHousing to ensure allocation of that funding is prioritized to Mainers with the lowest incomes and highest heating needs.
Some of that money will be made available for weatherization projects that conserve fuel and make the most of limited LIHEAP funds. Those who are able are encouraged to weatherize their homes through updating insulation and heating systems and to contribute to community charitable organizations like Keep ME Warm that provide heating assistance to those in need.
"Nobody should be left out in the cold this season. As Governor, I will do everything in my power to help protect our most vulnerable," Governor LePage said. "And I am calling on those who are able to join me in donating either their time or financial contributions to community efforts to provide emergency fuel assistance or weatherization. Small efforts can make a big difference, and together, we can keep our neighbors warm this winter."
Those in need of heating assistance can call 2-1-1 to be connected to local resources that may be able to help them this winter. For more information about the Governor's Energy Office, visit http://www.maine.gov/energy