Use propane to heat your home? Help is on the way

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Karen White would like to buy propane to heat her metro home but some vendors won't take her money.

White said, "It's going to take at least $330 just to get them to come out. They won't come out for no less.  You have to [buy] at least 100 gallons minimum."

White said she just lost her job and rising propane costs have cost the family about $100 more per month.

"It's really put a financial toll on us," she said.  "We have a disabled child in the home and it's just made things really hard."

They keep the temperature just above 60 degrees, but their one space heater creates a $200 electric bill.

Now, the family has to make tough choices.

"It's kind of like [choosing] between food and propane," she said.  "I don't honestly know what we're going to do.  I really don't."

DHS Spokesman Mark Beutler says other propane users are getting a month's head start on receiving financial help from the Energy Crisis Assistance Program (ECAP).

Oklahoma is getting an additional $4 million from the federal government for the program.

Propane users who are within 72 hours of running out can apply for assistance through their local DHS county office starting Tuesday.

A two-person household would qualify with an allowable monthly net income of $1,422.

An eight-person household would qualify with an allowable monthly net income of $3,632.

Officials say applicants need to bring their Social Security number, proof of income and household members, including the name of their propane supplier.

Beutler said, "The bottom line is trying to keep everybody out there safe and warm and put the money out there that we have available."

If the application is approved, a DHS-approved propane vendor will be paid directly within seven to 10 days.

Propane prices vary from vendor to vendor.

The Oklahoma Attorney General's Office announced it will look into reports of artificial price increases.

Nearly 400,000 Oklahomans use propane to heat their homes.

It's commonly used in rural areas not served by natural gas.

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