Utility companies in New York are being asked to increase their outreach and efforts to help consumer control their heating costs.

The Public Service Commission have sent letters to New York State Electric and Gas and others requiring them to take more steps to educate customers about payment assistance programs and take whatever steps they can to mitigate energy costs.

Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News (file)
Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News (file)

Governor Kathy Hochul says the cost of natural gas, used to heat homes and generate electricity, continues to rise sharply and in some cases has more than doubled as cold winter temperatures drive up the demand.

Officials remind residents the Home Energy Assistance Program or “HEAP” is available to provide up to $751 to eligible homeowners and renters to pay their energy bills.

New York is also providing $250-million in additional federal funding to help low-income household pay their outstanding utility bills up to $10,000 per household.

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$90-million in Emergency HEAP money has been made available for low and middle-income New Yorkers at risk of having their home heating disconnected.

Utility companies also offer budgeting options to spread out utility bills and programs are available to help residents identify and fix areas where energy is being wasted.

Residents can contact their utility for information on budget billing and other programs while they should contact their local department of social services for information on signing up for HEAP.

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