Do you have your fuel oil price locked down for the upcoming winter? Is your budget plan in place to make it easier for you to pay to be able to heat your home? We all know that the price of fuel oil can change overnight and that can have a devastating effect on many homeowners in the Hudson Valley.

If you, or someone you know, is 60 or older, you may qualify for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) for this upcoming winter. This program helps thousands of individuals and families in the Hudson Valley whether you heat by electricity, natural gas, oil, coal, propane, etc.

HEAP is based on income eligibility and is given as a one-time assistance for heating costs, it doesn't pay your bill every month, but every little bit helps. You may also qualify for emergency HEAP benefits if you are in danger of running out of fuel or having your utilities shut off.

The official start-up date for this year is November 14, and you can apply by either going to mybenefits.ny.gov or calling your county's Office of the Aging.

In addition, you can also apply for HEAP's 'Clean and Tune' program. These are energy efficient services such as cleaning of primary heating equipment, chimney cleaning, minor repairs, installation of carbon monoxide detectors or programmable thermostats, etc.

If you need help, please ask. If you know of someone who needs help, please share this information.