More families seeking home heat aid (Associated Press)

January 13, 2009

WASHINGTON—About 7.1 million U.S. households are expected to get fuel aid this winter, the highest total ever and a 21 percent increase from last winter

That's according to a survey released by the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association, which represents state-run low-income energy assistance programs.

The group's executive director, Mark Wolfe, says a lot of those seeking help have lost jobs or are struggling to pay bills amid the current economic crisis.

Amos Jones of Boston is receiving 200 gallons of heating oil through a federally-funded energy assistance program. But even with the help, he says his family of four still feels the chill.

Jones says he usually keeps his thermostat at just 60 degrees and bundles up in extra sweaters and sweatsuits whenever temperatures plummet.