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Brown Holds Workshops on High Heating Costs

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – After the coldest weekend of the winter season, homeowners will be bracing for sky high heating bills. One local state lawmaker wants to make sure that those who need help in paying their bills get it.

When the natural gas bill arrives in the mail, especially during the winter months, many people are outraged. Depending on the size of the house and its condition, a monthly bill can range between $200 and $300, if not more. That's why State Senator Byron Brown of Buffalo says he is holding a series of workshops this month, all designed to get necessary information out to the people.

"We're educating homeowners on how natural gas prices are actually set," Brown said. "We want them to have an understanding on what drives pricing."

Brown said the first workshop will be held at the Pratt Willert Community Center on Pratt Street this Thursday. He said many, especially seniors, are unaware of the help that's available to them.

"A lot of people don't know where to turn for help to get assistance," Brown said. "This will be a comprehensive workshop with a variety of government partners, private sector partners and community-based agency partners."

In addition to actual financial help from the Home Energy Assistance Program, Brown said there are programs to help homeowners weatherize their homes or install energy-efficient furnaces.