Operation Fuel Expects $1 Million Less In State Funds

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BLOOMFIELD — Operation Fuel is expecting to have $1 million less to work with this winter than it did last year when it had to shut down for part of the winter to avoid running out of money.

Pat Wrice, Operation Fuel’s executive director, broke the news to the agency’s network of more than 100 fuel banks around the state earlier this week at their annual meeting. The non-profit agency provides emergency energy assistance to lower income families, the elderly and disabled individuals who don’t qualify for government funded programs.

Wrice said Wednesday that Operation Fuel received $3.6 million from the state, private donations and grants from utilities last year, which included $2 million from the state’s system charge that funds low income initiatives.

That allowed the agency to provide assistance to more than 8,200 households throughout the state last year, but even with that much money Operation Fuel was forced to shut down.

When it reopened the agency ran a limited spring and summer initiative to provide assistance to households in danger of having their utility services terminated.

This year, however the $2 million from the state has been cut in half.

“We’ve never said we had too much money and we’ve seen everyone who needs help,” said Wrice reflecting on the agency’s constant struggle to raise enough funds to meet the need. “We can mitigate.”

Wrice said Operation Fuel will continue to try to raise additional funds privately and is also encouraging its partners to help them raise awareness in their communities and with their legislators.

Read the full story by Courant reporter Steven Goode on www.courant.com.

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