Record Energy Assistance In New Mexico

New Mexico – A program designed to help low-income New Mexicans with their heating bills helped a record number of households last year, and state officials are encouraging families that need help to apply again this year.

The state Human Services Department says more than 80,000 families were helped during the 2010 fiscal year. Those families received a once-a-year benefit that averaged $194 per household.

Department Secretary Katie Falls says families are encouraged to apply early for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and get current on their bills to avoid any disconnections during the coldest months of the year.

Each year from November 15 through March 15, a moratorium on utility disconnections is in effect for low-income households that meet the program's qualifications. Households must be at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.