With the recession and cold temperatures, did more people need assistance paying their heating bills this winter?
Black Hills Energy hasn’t seen an increase from last year in the number of people struggling to pay their heating bill, spokesman Curt Floerchinger said. The same is true for Warm Hearts of Douglas County, said Linda Lassen, the Penn House program director. So far, the Warm Hearts program has helped 380 families, about 50 families less than the number assisted last year. Lassen said assistance for heating will be available until the end of April. The state’s Cold Weather Rule, which prevents utilities from shutting off service if temperatures are expected to drop below 35 degrees within the next 24 hours, expired on April 1.