Vermont gets $3.7 more federal heating assistance than expected

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The Bush administration yesterday released $5.1 billion in fuel assistance to states, nearly doubling federal money to help poor people cope with high home heating bills expected this winter.

Despite oil price drops in recent months, lawmakers from cold weather states say high energy prices and the slumping economy are leaving many families struggling to pay to keep warm.

Vermont was allotted $38.7 million in federal funds, $3.7 million more than expected. The state received $17 million in federal funds last year.

The National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association, which represents state-run low-income energy assistance programs, says about 2 million more families are expected to get fuel aid this winter. About 5.8 million families got help last winter.

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