Winter heating assistance available for the 2021-22 season

5 mins read

FARMINGTON – There’s a chill in the air. Winter is on the way. Hundreds of people in Franklin County will need a helping hand purchasing heating fuel.

The Governor’s Energy Office reports that the average cost of heating oil this week is 96 cents higher than a year ago in the west-central area of Maine. Kerosene is 99 cents higher and propane is 50 cents higher. Prices are likely to continue to rise. The average cost of a gallon of oil is is $2.69 a gallon; but the highest price per gallon in this area is $3.06, and the lowest price is $2.45 a gallon. This means a family requesting a C.O.D. oil delivery now will pay anywhere from $245 to $306. For families without steady income or living on a fixed income, paying for heating fuel can mean having to go without food or medicine. These families may be eligible for federal HEAP assistance, but the money may not arrive in their accounts at the fuel dealer before December. Seniors and families with young children cannot wait until December to turn on the heat.

The Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry is pleased to offer the EcuShare program, commonly known as “$50 for 50.” Lower income households in Franklin County are welcome to apply and attach a $50 Money Order payable to their primary fuel vendor. Applications may be dropped off or mailed to WMCA for processing. One fuel delivery per household per heating season (Nov. 1 – March 31). ECU HEAT pays for the remaining balance, beyond the $50 share paid by the applicant. No phone applications, please; and no deliveries before Nov. 1 or after March 31.

“$50 for 50” is designed to prevent emergencies by encouraging people to plan ahead. If someone comes to you for emergency assistance, your congregation may assist with the $50 share by attaching a “Promise to Pay” form to the application; churches and towns that “Promise to Pay” will be billed by the vendor for the $50 after the delivery is made.

“$50 for 50” works for all forms of heating fuel – by helping to pay for 50 gallons of oil, kerosene or propane; one ton of wood pellets; or one cord of firewood – whatever is the primary fuel that household uses.

What if the family is eligible for LIHEAP? Many ECU HEAT recipients also receive federal HEAP benefits, but those benefits do not arrive in their fuel vendor accounts until December. An earlier delivery of 50 gallons of fuel will help those who need it to not freeze before the HEAP benefit arrives. Without “$50 for 50” most would not be able to afford to purchase the same amount of fuel on their own. Almost all Franklin County fuel vendors cooperate with ECU HEAT in making 50-gallon deliveries.

How does ECU HEAT pay for all those fuel deliveries? By many charitable donations raised by churches, individual donors and community groups, along with a matching grant from Sandy River Charitable Foundation. United Way of the Tri-Valley Area covered the balance due on 101 ECU HEAT deliveries last winter, and plans to do the same this winter.

Donations are gratefully received year-round. All donations made by check will be promptly acknowledged and are tax deductible. Congregations and community groups are encouraged to find creative ways to raise other funds for ECU HEAT. Donations may be sent to: ECU HEAT, P.O. Box 188, West Farmington, ME 04992

For more information and or to request an application, email Rev. Susan Crane, coordinator, Franklin County Ecumenical Heating Fund at If you want to speak with her, please leave your phone number and she will give you a call.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email