By Michele Worthington
Special to The SUN
The holidays can be tough on a family’s budget. Gifts and festivities cost a lot and higher monthly heating bills pile on.
This winter, Colorado’s Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) encourages residents to make small changes in energy-usage habits so they can save on their home heating costs.
LEAP is a 100-percent federally funded program administered by the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) that provides cash assistance to help Coloradans pay a portion of winter home-heating costs. The program pays the highest benefits to those with the highest heating bills and lowest incomes by family size. Applicant income cannot exceed 165 percent of the federal poverty level, which equates to $3,334 per month for a family of four. This year’s average LEAP benefit is expected to be $370 per household.
“Home heating is crucial for Colorado families, but there’s no denying that it’s expensive,” LEAP Manager Aggie Berens said. “Every family can follow a few small steps to reduce their home-heating costs without greatly impacting their day-to-day lives.”
There are many free ways to save money on energy bills this winter. These include:
• Turning down the thermostat at night or when you’re not home.
• Opening blinds and curtains to take advantage of Colorado’s purported 300 days of annual sunshine.