Tips Offered for Vermonters in Need of Fuel Assistance as Temperatures Drop
Contact: Charity R. Clark, Chief of Staff, 802-828–3171
The Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) is reminding Vermonters of their rights under Vermont’s propane laws, as February temperatures continue to stay very cold. The Attorney General’s Office enforces Consumer Protection Rule CP 111, which offers numerous protections to propane consumers, such as the ability to pay for propane in cash, even when you may owe for past deliveries. Last year, CAP, which offers a free mediation service, received 60 complaints related to propane.
“I encourage any Vermonter who is having trouble accessing heat this winter to reach out to a program like CAP for assistance,” said Attorney General T.J. Donovan. “If you are a propane consumer, know that there are Vermont laws that protect you, and CAP can help.”
Under Vermont law, propane sellers are prohibited from:
- Charging a minimum usage fee;
- Charging a fee for fuel not actually delivered;
- Requiring a minimum annual purchase of fuel, except as part of a guaranteed price plan;
- Charging any fee related to termination of service if a tank has been on the premises for more than 12 months.
If you or someone you know is having trouble affording heat this winter, here are some programs that can help: Vermont has the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program as well the WARMTH Program to help. CAP encourages people who need heat to seek out Vermont Fuel Assistance by calling 1-800-479-6151 or visiting their local Department of Children and Families or Community Action. For those who do not qualify for fuel assistance, local community action offices may have a supplemental program to help.
In addition, the Vermont Fuel Dealer’s Association has “Split the Ticket Program” that delivers free heating fuel to individuals through donations from fuel dealers, local businesses, organizations, and private donors. The Split the Ticket Program “matches financial contributions with donations of heating oil, kerosene and propane from Vermont’s fuel providers,” said Matt Cota, Executive Director of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association. “Since it was created in 2007, the fund has delivered more than 100,000 gallons of free heating fuel to our neighbors in need.”
If you have a concern related to propane, please contact CAP at 1-800-649-2424. More information about propane generally can be found on the Attorney General’s webpage concerning heating fuels.