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Program helps families stay warm during winter months

Morgan Aguilar
December 06, 2017 07:36 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Chilly winter months can get expensive in a hurry as families crank up the thermostat to keep warm at home, but New Mexico Gas Company wants to make sure nobody is left in the cold.

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Through donations and with help from the Salvation Army, the NMGC program HEAT New Mexico has helped keep the heat on for more than 5,000 New Mexicans since 2009.

"This a program we're especially proud of," said Tim Korte, communications manager at New Mexico Gas Company. "Anybody who has trouble or some kind of a hardship paying their natural gas bill during the cold months is eligible to apply."

Even customers that don't use New Mexico Gas Company can qualify. New Mexicans can apply through the Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which is administered statewide through the New Mexico Human Services Department. They offer heating assistance for people who use electricity, wood or other fuels to heat their homes as well.

LIHEAP uses household income, immigration status, ages and disabilities of those living in the home to determine eligibility. Some low-income customers are even protected from having their heat shut off if they can't pay their bills between Nov. 15 and March 15.

"There are some stipulations," Korte said. "You have to be current on your bill or if you're having problems, you need to contact our office so we can get you signed up."

Korte said customers will receive at least one notice that their service is going to be disconnected before they ever shut off someone's natural gas.

"We're not the boogeyman," he said. "We're trying to help everybody stay warm through the winter."

Customers who are able to donate to the Heat New Mexico program can contribute anytime on their monthly NMGC bill, by calling 1-888-NM-GAS-CO (1-888-664-2726) or online here.

Credits

Morgan Aguilar

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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