Nixon Announces Measures to Help Missourians Pay Rising Propane Bills

By KOLR10 News

Published 02/03 2014 01:11PM

Updated 02/03 2014 07:41PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Millions of dollars are on the way to help Missouri families survive skyrocketing propane prices.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced the release of millions of dollars in federal funds to assist families hit hard by skyrocketing propane costs.

In his announcement, the Missouri Governor said Attorney General Chris Koster is investigating the steep rise in propane prices.

Republican Speaker of the House Tim Jones is calling on the Justice Department to step in as well. But, Nixon said Missouri families need help now and these funds will be released immediately to those who need it most.

In addition, the cap placed on the amount of energy assistance families can receive has been lifted and the amount doubled.

Janice Ling is used to long, cold days on a Southwest Missouri dairy farm.

"We have five propane tanks on the farm," says Ling.

She uses those tanks to heat her milking barn and the family home and this harsh winter is costing Ling thousands.

"We have already used around $6,000 in propane on the farm this winter and hopefully it will warm up before we have to use too much more,” says Ling. "I think we spent about half on propane last winter."

Ling says farm families like other families have little choice but to bite the bullet.

"You pay what you have to pay to keep going,” says Ling. “But, I don't run the heaters as much as I would like to."

A few miles from Ling's farm, Nixon addressed a host of issues dealing with the onslaught of winter storms the state is dealing with this winter.

"Over the past month in Missouri the retail price of propane for residential use has nearly doubled to $4 a gallon,” said Nixon.

Nixon says the high cost of propane is putting Missouri families in danger.

"As temperatures have hit historic lows during this harsh winter the cost of propane has soared dealing many Missourians a dangerous, quite frankly, life threatening one, two punch,” said Nixon. “No hard-working Missouri family should have to choose between putting food on the table and staying warm."

Nixon said nearly a quarter of a million Missouri homes rely on propane to heat their homes and the immediate release of federal funds will help families when they need it; which is now.

"An additional $14.9 million in federal funds will be made immediately through the low income home energy assistance program, through Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEA)," said Nixon.

In addition to that, Nixon said his administration would double the amount each household can receive for propane assistance, from $264-450 per year to $528-900 per year.

Ling says she is happy the State is helping people in poverty. But, working families, like hers, are also struggling to pay a bill double what it was last year.

"It's nice to be able to help people in need, especially in times of heating and stuff,” says Ling. “But, sometimes the people that really need the help don't get the help."

Families in poverty that need energy assistance would go through community action agencies like OACAC. You will want to look for the community action agency that serves your particular county.

Click here to find the agency that serves families in your area.

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