New Hampshire winters can be grueling, especially for people who have a hard time paying their heating bills. If you or someone you know is having trouble providing home heat, you may wish to:
Contact the Fuel Assistance Administration, Governor's Office of Energy and Community Services. The phone number is 271-8317 or contact the office through its Web site.
Starting in the late summer you may see advertisements for payment plans that allow you to "lock in" the price that you will pay for fuel oil or propane gas for the coming winter. These programs take many forms, but usually you must pay in advance for a certain amount of fuel in order to "guarantee" the price. The "guaranteed" price will be lower than the prevailing market prices for the fuel only if prices for the same fuel rise above what you have already paid. For some people, these programs can help them budget their heating costs by requiring them to pay all or part of their fuel bill during the warm months. With these programs, you are essentially gambling that the future price of the fuel will be higher. No one can "guarantee" the lowest price for fuel because we cannot be absolutely certain how much fuel prices will rise, if at all, during the winter although the principle of supply and demand often results in higher fuel prices in winter than summer.
If you have problems with a fuel provider not living up to a contract, contact the NH Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau at 603-271-3641 1-800-468-4454, or through its Web site.
For problems with natural gas, contact the Public Utilities Commission at 603-271-2431. Oil and propane are not regulated by the Public Utilities Commission.
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