Operation Fuel in the News: Financial Assistance for Energy and Heat

CT Insider: High Demand Forced a CT Home Heating Program to Pause. Will Lower Oil Prices and Warmer Temps Help?

Posted on October 11, 2023 – “”This fall, we’ve seen similar numbers to how many people we served last year,” said Gannon Long, chief program officer of Operation Fuel, in a Tuesday interview with CT Insider.” Read more here …

CT News Junkie: Blumenthal Urges Increased LIHEAP Funding as Connecticut Families Face Chilly Winter

Posted on October 9, 2023 – “The winter heating season has already started, Operation Fuel has stopped taking applications, and Congress level-funded the Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal held a press conference outside the state Capitol Monday and called on his colleagues in Washington to do more to help.” Read more here …

CT News Junkie: Operation Fuel to Close Summer/Fall Application Window Early Due to High Demand

Posted on October 5, 2023 – “However, since then, the program has received more than 3,000 applications for assistance, leading the group to close the window early, Roxanna Booth, Operation Fuel’s advancement and communications officer, said Thursday. “Connecticut residents are continuing to struggle with paying their utility bills and that’s even stretching up into higher income residents,” Booth said.” Read more here …

Fox61: Operation Fuel’s Application For Assistance Deadline is Sooner Than Expected

Posted on October 5, 2023 – “Connecticut’s only year-round emergency energy assistance program Operation Fuel, is moving up the deadline for applications in the summer and fall window. The deadline to apply is Friday at 5 p.m.” Read more here …

Yale News: Housing Nonprofit Celebrates 44 Years of Service

Posted on October 5th, 2023 – “The organization also recognized four individuals who NHS said have played pivotal roles in shaping the work of NHS across the city and the state. Tenée Mack of Operation Fuel Connecticut was honored as the “Exceptional Sustainability Partner, …” Read more here … 

News12 Connecticut: Operation Fuel Applications For Home Heating Assistance Close Friday

Posted on October 4, 2023 – “Operation Fuel says it will close the application period this Friday for anyone in need of home heating assistance over the next few months.” Read more here …

CT Post: Opinion: Green Bank Taking Action on High Energy Costs

Posted on August 9, 2023 – “The Green Bank’s programs also support businesses and complement other state initiatives, resources, and organizations. Those include Operation Fuel, which provides energy assistance to families struggling to pay for their home heating fuel, and Energize Connecticut, which provides information on all the incentive and financing programs managed by the state’s utilities and the Green Bank.” Read more here …

HK-Now: Connecticut Water Offers Financial Assistance to Customers in Need

Posted on August 8, 2023 – “Connecticut Water Company and Operation Fuel have announced they are continuing their partnership to reach customers who qualify for financial assistance. The partnership supplements assistance available through the company’s existing H2O — Help to Others — program.” Read more here …

CT Insider: CT’s Operation Fuel Ends Seasonal Energy Assistance Program Early

Posted on April 17, 2023 – “The announcement that Hartford-based Operation Fuel ended its winter-spring program on Friday came just two weeks after the organization had resumed accepting applications for fuel assistance after a one-month pause brought on by a higher the usual volume of applications. Keyla Palala, a spokeswoman for the organization, said the decision to end the program early was designed “to make sure that we are fully equipped going into next season.” Read more here … 

Connecticut Public: Operation Fuel Ends Assistance Program Early, Citing Spikes in Demand and Energy Costs

Posted on April 13, 2023 – “Earlier this year, Operation Fuel paused applications for energy assistance due to extreme demand. The window for applications briefly opened again in April, but the group signaled another closure was looming. “We were hopeful that we would be able to get through the backlog in March, but it’s just an onslaught,“ Watson said. She said that the organization still has about 10,000 applications that haven’t been processed and that not all applicants will receive aid.” Read more here …

NBC Connecticut: Operation Fuel Ends Winter/Spring Energy Assistance Program Early Due to High Demand

Posted on April 12, 2023 – “Officials said it will end for the season on Friday, April 14. This year, the nonprofit said it helped more than double the number of households it typically serves in a program year. From December to April, Operation Fuel said it provided nearly $8 million in energy assistance to 8,000 households. The demand for energy assistance has increased substantially from a year ago when the nonprofit said it served a little over 6,500 households all year.” Read more here …

WTNH: Operation Fuel to End Energy Assistance Program April 14th

Posted on April 12, 2023 – “The program, which kicked-off on Dec. 19, 2022, administered gas or deliverable fuels to households living up to 100% of state median income, with grants up to $500. It was set to run through May 26 or when funding ran out. The non-profit said that it helped more than double the number of households it typically services in a program year.” Read more here …

WTNH – CT Style: Operation Fuel: Energy Assistance Needs Are at an All-Time High. How Can You Help?

Posted on April 11, 2023 – “Operation Fuel has been helping Connecticut residents struggling financially, to power their homes since 1977. Right now, the organization says the demand for energy assistance is at an all-time high.” Read more & watch the interview here …

Connecticut Public: Operation Fuel Reopens Application Process but May Need to Pause it Again

Posted on April 5, 2023 – “We had to pause our season in March so that we could catch up and serve people effectively because we had over $3,000 applications pending in our system, meaning they hadn’t been seen by any of our program staff who analyze the applications and make sure all the documentation is included and then approve the application for direct bill payment,” Watson said.” Read more here …

Connecticut Public: Citing extreme consumer demand, major CT energy assistance program is on hold

Posted on February 24, 2023 – “A year-round emergency energy assistance program in Connecticut is pausing for the month of March, saying it can’t keep up with demand from customers struggling with their bills. Energy assistance requests to Operation Fuel doubled from July to October, said Brenda Watson, the agency’s executive director. She said demand only got worse when the state’s two major utilities – Eversource and United Illuminating – raised their rates on Jan. 1.” Read more here …

WTNH: Operation Fuel pausing energy assistance program for March due to high demand

Posted on February 24, 2023 – “We regret that we must do this but feel we had no choice,” said Brenda Watson, the nonprofit’s executive director. “There has already been an extremely high number of requests for energy assistance this program season. We must pause to get through the backlog so that folks who have applied get their applications reviewed promptly.” Read more here …

AARP CT: Connecticut Faces High Heating Costs, But Help Is Available

Posted on January 1, 2023 – ““You go into the grocery store, and everything is high,” says the 77-year-old retired hospital technician from New Haven. “I have to pinch pennies, borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. I pay one account one month and another the next one.” But thanks to fuel-assistance programs, Ford has been able to cover the rising cost of heating her one-bedroom apartment. For the past three years, she has received help from the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program, funded with a federal block grant, and Operation Fuel, a Hartford-based nonprofit charity.” Read more here …

CT News Junkie: Consumer Counsel Advises Ratepayers to be Careful When Shopping For Lower Electricity Rates

Posted on December 19, 2022 – “There are options for those experiencing financial hardships when it comes to paying their energy bills, with Operation Fuel opening up their applications today for those needing help meeting utility and heating needs – electricity, gas, or deliverable fuel. “This program is available to 100 percent of state median-income households,” said Keyla Palala, Communications and Program Manager with Operation Fuel.” Read more here …

Patch: Fuel Assistance Qualifying Levels Increased, Applications  Open Dec. 19

Posted on December 16, 2022 – “Previously capped at 60 percent of state median income, this year’s Operation Fuel levels have been increased to 100 percent of state median income. That means, for example, a household of three earning up to $107,052 annually can now be eligible.” Read more here …

CT Examiner: Operation Fuel Expects to Double Heating Assistance with Applications Opening on Dec. 19

Posted on December 9, 2022 – “Operation Fuel intends to offer grants up to $1,000 to heating customers earning up to the state median income – $66,270 for an individual, and $127,443 for a household of four — when it begins accepting applications for its winter heating assistance program on Dec. 19.”  Read more here …

CT News Junkie: Regional Grid Operator Predicts Mild to Moderate Winter

Posted on December 6, 2022 – “Earlier this month when Connecticut’s two biggest utilities announced they would increase prices by 50%, Connecticut lawmakers pressured Eversource and Avangrid into making a bigger contribution to Operation Fuel to help families offset the price increase of up to $85 per month for the average household. ” Read more here …

NBC Connecticut: Face the Facts: Expanding Eligibility for Heating Assistance This Winter

Posted on December 5, 2022 – “An increase in energy assistance is going to help low income families get through the winter. But skyrocketing fuel costs are a real concern for many in the state. Operation Fuel provides assistance to families across Connecticut. Executive Director Brenda Watson explains how expanding eligibility can help many more families.” Read more here …

Journal Inquirer: Energy Assistance – More Applying This Year, Straining an Already Overburdened System

Posted on December 3, 2022 – “Brenda Watson, executive director of Operation Fuel, said her organization typically serves about 1,900 households during the summer and fall season, but that number surged to more than 4,000 this year. For the winter, the number seeking assistance will double or triple compared to previous years, she said.” Read more here …

The Middletown Press: CT Legislature Passes ‘Hero Pay’ and Extension of Gas-tax Holiday in Special Session

Posted on November 29, 2022 – “The GOP lawmakers said that with multi-billion surpluses last year and this year, the General Assembly should have enhanced the benefits for both essential workers and the lower-income residents who are eligible for heating assistance programs called LIHEAP and Operation Fuel.” Read more here …

From the Office of Governor, Ned Lamont: Press Release

Posted on November 28, 2022 – “I also appreciate that this plan includes Eversource and UI corporate funding that will go to Operation Fuel for an energy assistance program. Complex issues call for creative solutions, and this public-private partnership paired with the energy assistance actions expected to be taken by the General Assembly in special session today will provide residents with some much-needed relief and protection this winter.” Read more here …

The Register Citizen: With Rates Set to Skyrocket, Greenwich is Promoting Programs That Help With Heating Costs

Posted on November 25, 2022 – “The winter season Operation Fuel program opens on Dec. 19. People who are 30 days or more past due paying their heating bills and meet the income eligibility — earn 75 percent or less of the state median income — can get help.” Read more here …

My Record Journal: Heating Costs Concerns on the Rise

Posted on November 19, 2022 – “Gannon Long is policy and public affairs director for another program, Operation Fuel, which provides year-round energy and utility assistance to state residents, including those who may not qualify for relief under LIHEAP.  Long said in 2021 the organization served more than 9,000 households. This year, Operation Fuel is on track to process even more assistance applications. During the summer alone, the agency served 4,500 residents — an unprecedented number, Long said. The agency is bracing for a winter with potentially greater numbers.” Read more here …

The Day: New battery storage facility proposed in Preston

Posted on October 12, 2022 – “Also Tuesday, FirstLight announced it will collaborate with battery facility developer New Leaf Energy to donate $60,000 to Operation Fuel for its workforce training program and to provide energy assistance to residents during the coming winter” Read more here …

CT Insider: Prepare to Pay More for Heating Oil This Winter in CT

Posted on September 3, 2022 – “The nonprofit Operation Fuel has seen more than 2,000 people apply for assistance with their heating oil bills only weeks into this year’s cycle, a record number according to Brenda Watson, executive director.” Read more here …

Connecticut Public: Operation Fuel reports record number of Connecticut residents seeking help paying utility bills

Posted August 30, 2022 – “It may still be August, but the number of Connecticut residents seeking help paying their utility bills is already on a record pace, the executive director of a Hartford-based nonprofit said.” Read more here …

Energy News Network: Study Provides Deeper Insights on Impacts of Utility Shutoffs

Posted August 9, 2022 – “I’ve heard stories from other advocates, but [prior to the study] I’ve never heard from an actual person that they’ve been threatened with eviction or told to just move instead of the landlord addressing issues with their property,” she said.” Read more here …

Fox 61 News: United Illuminating Seeking 8% Rate Increase Over 3-yr Period

Posted August 3, 2022 – “So far, we have nearly a thousand applications in our system since we opened on July 5th. I’ve never seen it this high,” said Watson, executive director of Operation Fuel. Watson said she expects even more applications if PURA approves the rate increase.” Read more here …

CT By The Numbers: As Utility Bills Rise, Resources in CT Can Help Older Adults

Posted on June 28, 2022 – “Erlingheuser noted Connecticut residents pay the highest electric prices in the lower 48 states. One resource available for those who need help paying utility bills is Operation Fuel. Before applying, a household needs to gather proof of the last four weeks of income for all household members, the name of their fuel vendor or a utility bill and payment history.” Read more here …

AARP-CT: AARP Connecticut Urges Consumers to Prepare for High Electricity Costs This Summer

Posted on June 14, 2022 – “With an increase for Connecticut’s electric standard service generation rate going into effect on July 1, AARP Connecticut is raising awareness among consumers on how they can best prepare their homes for extremely warm weather and higher utility bills. AARP also encourages participation in assistance and weatherization programs that are available to many residents.” Read more here …

Hartford Courant: Metropolitan District Urges Customers With Overdue Bills To Seek Assistance. Here’s How

Posted on May 11, 2022 – MDC customers also can contact Operation Fuel to determine eligibility for water bill assistance at www.operationfuel.org/gethelp. Read more here …

Connecticut Network: “Energy Insecurity in Connecticut” Virtual Town Hall w/ Operation Fuel, Vermont Law School, & Yale University

Recorded on May 6, 2022 – “From January to April 2022, the researchers conducted 10 focus groups with 22 CT residents to discuss their lived experiences with and coping mechanisms for unaffordable heat and electricity costs. The team shared participants’ experiences and Operation Fuel’s policy and program teams moderated a Q&A open to all audience members.” Watch here …

Connecticut Public: Operation Fuel Says Request For Heating Assistance Are Way Up

Posted March 15, 2022 – “That’s why we try to encourage people to apply despite what their income status may be,” Watson said. “If you’re someone who’s working and living paycheck-to-paycheck, you’re very likely eligible for our program.” Read more here.

Energy News Network: Connecticut ‘Right to Charge’ Bill Paves Path For Renter to Install Their Own EV Chargers

Posted March 10, 2022 – “Gannon Long, director of policy and public affairs at Operation Fuel, which provides energy assistance to low-income households in Connecticut, said she hasn’t heard that the right to charge is of any concern to the financially burdened residents of environmental justice communities.” Read more here.

Fox 61 News: As Oil Prices Spike, Connecticut Organizations Work to Help Residents Pay Heating Bills

Posted March 3, 2022 – “Ryan Oil also works with Operation Fuel, an organization that helps families that may be struggling with utility bills or energy costs with financial assistance. The program serves around 14,000 families every year.” Read more here.

WTNH News 8: Help Available for Conn. Homeowners Amid Rising Oil Prices

Posted February 24, 2022 – “Operation Fuel provides up to $500 to households earning up to 75% of the state’s median income. That is $65,000 for an individual and $125,000 for a family of four.” Read more here.

NBC Connecticut: Consumers Feel Pinch of Rising Fuel, Energy Prices

Posted February 21, 2022 – “Metzler recommends people in Connecticut take advantage of Operation Fuel, a program that isn’t available in all states.” Read more here.

Doing It Local: Connecticut’s Clean Energy Industry More Resilient Than That Of Other States In Region, Nation

Posted February 14, 2022 – “The clean energy industry is helping our families and businesses reduce energy costs while creating well-paying jobs. We must work with many community-based organizations, to not only widen the jobs funnel, but develop a clear pathway for Hispanic, Black and women workers to increase their presence in the industry.” Read more here.

CT Insider: Having Trouble Paying For Heat This Winter? These CT Programs Can Help

Posted February 1, 2022 – “Besides state assistance, residents may also find help with home heating costs through Operation Fuel, a Hartford nonprofit that provides assistance to households making less than 75 percent of state median income.” Read more here.

WFUV: Strike a Chord Campaign

“WFUV’s Strike a Chord campaign is turning its attention to organizations that help fight winter woes.” Read more here.

New Haven Independent: Murphy, CAAs Vow To Keep Boosting Fuel Assistance

Posted January 28, 2022 – “Pandemic conditions requiring people to stay at home for more of the day have sent some families’ utility bills rising.” Read more here.

New Haven Register: Energy Funding Assistance Must Be Maintained, New Haven Nonprofit Leaders Tell Murphy

Posted January 27, 2022 – “Dana Barcellos-Allen, marketing and development director of Operation Fuel, said she and her colleagues worry about May, when a state program that delays utility shut-offs based on economic hardship ends.” Read more here.

WTNH News 8: PURA Sheds Light on Programs That Help Bring Down Utility Cost

Posted January 27, 2022 – “My predecessor at Operation Fuel is the reason why I go above and beyond and try to figure out ways in which we can serve people in a way that provides them with not only dignity, but with choice in the privacy of their own home,” said Brenda Watson, executive director of Operation Fuel. Read more here.

Naugatuck Patch: Help with Winter Heating Bills from Operation Fuel

Posted January 26, 2022 – “Do you or someone you know have unpaid utility bills? Or is struggling to pay for heating costs?” Read more here.

WTNH News 8: Operation Fuel Offers Financial Assistance for Energy and Heat

Posted January 24, 2022 – “The cost of oil on the rise and with low temperatures, many in our state are struggling to heat their homes; Operation Fuel wants people to know that help is available.” Read more here.

CT Post: As Temperatures Drop in Connecticut, There’s Plenty of Heating Aid Available

Posted January 13, 2022. “Another assistance program, Operation Fuel, is available for those who need assistance with heating bills.” Read more here.

News 12 Westchester: Need Assistance Keeping Your Home Warm? Here Are Some Tri-state Resources

Posted January 11, 2022 – “Operation Fuel offers year-round emergency energy and utility assistance for customers facing a financial crisis.” Read more here.

CT Mirror: The Price of Energy is Going Up

Posted November 19, 2021. Brenda Watson, now the executive director of Operation Fuel, which helps low-income people pay energy bills, recalled multiple weather emergencies at the time that caused them to go through $1 million of fuel assistance in six weeks. “We were sitting around the table – how can we help people?” she said. “We weren’t against [the idea of opting for gas expansion]. We weren’t attuned to the environmental impact at the time. Now I know better.” Read more here.

iHeartRadio: Op Fuel Executive Director Talks Winter Assistance

Posted: November 7, 2021. Here is Renee DiNino’s interview with Brenda Watson, Executive Director of Operation Fuel. She chats about Operation Fuel’s mission to provide year-round energy and utility assistance, promote energy independence, and advocate for affordable energy for Connecticut residents. Listen online here.

NBC Connecticut: Home Heating Costs Predicted to Spike this Winter

Posted November 5, 2021. “I’ve fallen behind. I can’t keep up,” said Wanda Flores, inside her Beacon Street home in Hartford. Flores, who has been in a wheelchair  decades because of a rare genetic disease, owes Eversource $1,194 for electricity, a bill that she’s been struggling to catch up on since May. “I’ve never had a bill this high in my entire life,” said Flores. Add that to her natural gas bill and she owes nearly $1,500. For the last several years, Flores has turned to Operation Fuel, a charity that gives out $500 grants to those who need help paying their utility bills. Click here for full video.

Hartford Courant: Just In Time For Winter, Eversource Warns Customers of a Double Digit Increase In Natural Gas

Posted November 3, 2021 – “In addition, the utility cited Operation Fuel, a Hartford-based private, nonprofit energy assistance program for those who need emergency help with their energy bills and aren’t receiving other state or federal assistance.” Read more here.

Fox 61: Home Heating Bills Expected to Increase This Winter

Posted November 1, 2021

“We know that COVID has put a lot of hardships on people we know that people have had job losses or hours cut,” said Dana Barcellos-Allen, marketing and development director for Operation Fuel. The organization has already started to see that increase. “As a matter of fact even in the early fall once we started hearing that the moratorium on some of the utilities was going to be ending we started seeing more applications come in then.” Click here for full video.

WFSB Video: Home Heating Costs Expected to Surge this Year, How Operation Fuel Helps

Posted: October 14, 2021

Feel free to share and help spread the word ➡️ If you or someone you know needs help with home heating prices, don’t be afraid to contact Operation Fuel, Inc. They help with home heating oil and electric bills — and the demand is expected to rise this winter. Thanks to Dana Barcellos-Allen for joining us on WFSB – Channel 3 Eyewitness News at 4:30. Click here for full video.

WTIC NewsTalk 1080: Utility Shutoff Moratorium Ends for Non-Hardship Customers

Posted: October 2, 2021

Click here to read full story. Connecticut’s moratorium that barred utility companies from shutting off services because of unpaid bills ends Wednesday for residents who are not classified as having a financial hardship. The state put the moratorium in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to help families that were struggling financially. With the end of the moratorium, customers who are not considered to have financial hardships may soon see bills with shutoff notices coming in the mail.

This may come as a shock for residents who are still struggling financially, Operation Fuel Executive Director Brenda Watson said. Watson recommends residents who are facing this challenge to reach out to the utility company to see if they qualify for having financial hardship or to learn about any payment plans they offer.

“I understand that the utilities are at the point now where they are willing to work with any customer who calls them and notes that they’re struggling with the cost of their utility bills,” she said.

WFSB Better Connecticut: Operation Fuel Helping Local Families

Posted: February 22, 2021

Click here for an in-depth look at Operation Fuel’s application process for applying for utility bill and energy assistance through Operation Fuel’s online portal at operationfuel.org/gethelp.

Due to the pandemic, many families are struggling with the most basic needs; one of those is keeping their family warm. Brenda Watson is the executive director of Operation Fuel, she is telling us about the program.


WTNH: Operation Fuel on a Mission

Click here to see Operation Fuel Executive Director Brenda Watson talk with WTNH News 8 about how people struggling with utility bills can now apply online for financial assistance at operationfuel.org/gethelp

(WTNH) — With winter here, some people are finding it hard to afford their heating bills.

Brenda Watson, Operation Fuel’s Executive Director, joined News 8 to explain how to get help and how to help others.

There are over 400,000 households in Connecticut who struggle with the cost of home energy.

There are two ways people can help those who are struggling:

  • Let people know that helpful resources are available
  • Add a dollar to your monthly utility bill

If you need to apply for assistance, call 211 or go to operationfuel.org/gethelp.