“This past year it (amount of applications) went up, we went over 10,000 applications,” Penquis fuel assistance program manager Lynn Lugdon said.
The program has great benefits. Last year fuel bills for program participants were around $1,300. Penquis' average aid was $826 per household covering more than half the expenses.
With fuel prices between 6.7-16.5% more expensive Lugdon says customers may not be getting the bang for their buck.
“Unfortunately it is going to hurt in the long run but we are an assistance program,” she said.
Penquis bases its aid off of its customer's income and is not influenced by the change in fuel prices.
Corinth resident Phyllis Wakefield is just thankful to be getting some sort of aid.
“They’re guardian angels for anyone that’s in need,” she said.
Wakefield is low on fuel, but thanks to the program she’ll be getting aid before the cold Maine winter hits.
“Without them I don’t know what I would do I really don’t because I don’t work anymore and I’m still going through major health issues," she said.
“Hopefully letters will be going out the following week to the clients to let them know that the benefits are on their accounts,” Lugdon said.
Lugdon says Penquis will be accepting applications through July. Residents in Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Knox counties are eligible. For more information on the fuel assistance program you may call 207-973-3630.