Assemblyman Michael Cusick: Protect your family from rising energy costs photo

snowflake Something must be done to contain rising energy costs...

photo ... Assemblyman Michael Cusick is working to help families and businesses get affordable energy.

Hurricanes, rising demand, and tight supplies have driven up the price of natural gas throughout the U.S. As a result, it will cost more to heat and power homes and businesses this winter. Without the implementation of an effective national energy policy we will continue to see unprecedented gas prices.

Home heating oil and natural gas prices are expected to soar this winter - possibly by 50 percent - or about $350 more.

The Assembly has held public hearings across the state to create a comprehensive plan to lower energy costs and protect ratepayers.

At these hearings, lawmakers are investigating the causes of the dramatic cost increases of energy and discussing ways to implement effective short- and long-term solutions to alleviate the crisis.

flame What you can do to keep costs down

Below are steps you can take to control heating bills and conserve energy so that there is money in your budget to keep warm this winter.

  • Have your heating system serviced by a reputable company annually
  • Replace filters in your heating system once a month during heating season
  • Install a programmable thermostat or turn down your thermostat if leaving home for more than two hours and when going to bed
  • Insulate attics, walls, ceilings, and floors
  • Open drapes/shades during the day and close them at night
  • Caulk windows, replace broken windows and weather-strip doors
  • Close fireplace dampers when not in use
  • Remove window air conditioners during cold months or cover unit with plastic inside and out
  • Close off unused rooms
  • Avoid blocking wall or floor heating registers and clean them regularly
  • Seal and insulate ductwork
  • Reduce water heater temperature to 125 degrees
  • Insulate hot water heaters and pipes

You might have an opportunity to further reduce your natural gas or electric rates by choosing a different supplier. For a listing of competitive natural gas and electricity suppliers and a comparison chart, visit and click on the "Power to Choose" logo, or call 1-888-275-7721.

house Make your home more energy efficient

photo If you own your own home, you may be eligible for low-interest financing to make energy efficient improvements.

New York State’s "EnergySmart" Program offers the "Home Performance Program with Energy Sta"- where a participating contractor will inspect your home and provide energy improvement recommendations, as well as do the work. Contractors identify, through a home energy audit, a variety of home energy efficiency problems such as:

  • Poor insulation
  • Wasted and unbalanced heat
  • Ineffective moisture control
  • Faulty heating equipment
  • Air leakage

For more information about the "EnergySmart" Program or participating contractors for the "Home Performance Program with Energy Star," please visit

Low-interest loans and other financial incentives are available at or call 1-866-697-3732.P

gears Get the help you need to heat your home

The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is available through the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance for renters and homeowners to assist in meeting home energy heating costs. There are income eligibility levels, depending on the number of persons in the household, and other housing requirements to participate. New York City residents aged 60 or older who received a HEAP grant last year will automatically be contacted by the Human Resources Administration again this year, or can apply through the NYC Department for the Aging by calling 311. If you are not currently enrolled in the HEAP program, you may still have the opportunity to apply for the Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program for basic emergency benefits when they are available. Eligibility requirements are similar to HEAP. For more information about these programs, please call 1-800-342-3009 or visit

Other offices that assist with HEAP benefits are:

  • NYS Office of the Aging, 1-800-342-9871
  • NYS Department of Family Assistance, visit
  • Public Utility Law Project (PULP), visit
Weatherization Assistance Program

The Division of Housing and Community Renewal manages the Weatherization Assistance Program, which helps income-eligible families reduce costs through energy efficiency measures. These measures include: air sealing like weather stripping and caulking, insulation, heating system improvements or replacement, improvements in lighting efficiency and refrigerator replacements with Energy Star rated units. This program is based on income and household size with priority given to senior citizens, families with children and disabled persons. For more information visit or call 1-866-275-3427.

Emergency Energy Assistance

To avoid electric and gas shutoffs, contact the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) Senior Center at 1-800-342-3355 or visit

Assemblyman Cusick
Assemblyman Michael Cusick
1911 Richmond Ave.,
Staten Island, NY 10314

(718) 370-1384