Heating help dries up for some

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – About a third of the counties in the state are out of LIHEAP funds.

That’s the term for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Now, there’s concern people will have their power cut off at a time when the weather doesn’t seem to be getting any more warm.

More than $30 million in heating help won't be enough to get some folks through the winter.

10 of 23 agencies across the state of Kentucky are almost, or out of, LIHEAP money that helps eligible people pay for their utility bills.

The Executive Director of Community Action Kentucky, Robert Jones, says the problem is two-fold.

"We've seen the spot price of propane go up dramatically in the past few months as it's become scarce and we've also had a very severe winter this year."

The area impacted is largely confined to the eastern third of the state that’s disproportionately affected by the funds shortage, including counties like Rowan, Morgan, Harlan and Bell.

Jones says most of the larger utility companies will opt to put customers on a payment plan, rather than cut their power off completely.

But, when this does happen "there are shelters and other alternatives," he said.

Jones says agencies have run out of funds before, but never this early in the season.

He says there's about $3 million more the state could receive, but that would only take the eastern counties through one more week of heating costs.

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