Winter Readiness

Prevent Frozen Pipes
Heat Your Home Over Winter Break

 

If you will be away over the winter break, do not turn your heat off! You can turn your thermostat down, but set it at no lower than 55 degrees. Turning your heat off or setting the
thermostat lower than 55 degrees may cause significant damage if the pipes freeze. The cost, often in the thousands of dollars - could potentially be passed on to you.

If you plan to be out of town for any length of time over the winter break, make arrangements with your landlord to safeguard your residence against this potentially serious and costly problem. If you notice your water pipes are exposed to cold air, such as those next to exterior walls, or gaps in walls, floors and/or insulation, point these out to the landlord or owner in writing. You may wish to consider taking pictures.

Taking these actions now may help you avoid having your pipes freeze, and could serve as protection against your financial liability should that happen.

Fuel Assistance

If your household is having trouble paying for home heating oil and fuel then you may qualify for assistance from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Qualified households will receive assistance based on their household size and income. Local residents from both Hampshire and Franklin counties should contact the Franklin Community Action Energy Program. Call 1-800-370-0940 for more information about this program.

Winter Protection Plan for Households Facing Electricity Shut Offs

If you are the head of a household and can honestly say that "I cannot pay my electric bill in full, and I will not be able to afford food, clothing, rent, medical treatment and other basic
necessities" then you may qualify for a special program called The Winter Protection Plan from Western Mass Electric Company (WMECO). Under this plan WEMCO will agree not to shut off your electric service for non-payment; not to send you a shut off notice this winter; and not to charge you a late payment fee. To qualify, contact your local public assistance agency or mail a copy of either: a fuel assistance award letter; your Medicaid card, your food stamp identification card; a copy of your social security card; your unemployment booklet, or claim from/notice of action and/or eligibility from MA Department of Social Services to:

Northeast Utilities
Office of Credit Administration
PO Box 270
Hartford, CT 06141-0270

Emergency Car Kit

The following are items you should always have in your car in case of a winter emergency:

  • windshield ice scraper
  • travel shovel
  • sensible shoes that provide traction
  • heavy coat and gloves
  • blankets
  • cat litter, road salt, or rug samples (to place under your tires if you are stuck in the snow)
  • flashlight and batteries
  • jumper cables
  • first aid kit
  • non-perishable snacks
  • water
  • emergency flares

Source: www.ready.gov/winter