The price of keeping warm this winter is way, way up. It's hitting many people harder than the cold weather is.
Home heating costs have hit an all-time high with a 40 percent increase since last year. Much of this is due to damage to natural resources caused by Hurricane Katrina.
The high costs are taking a major toll on agencies that are trying to help.
It's less than two weeks into the new year and officials at multi-county community service agency in meridian say they've already depleted all of their energy assistance funds for this budget year.
"Mrs. Cole is working on trying to get our budget amended because of energy prices. Hopefully, that will happen and that's what we're going to work on," said board chairman, Jimmie Smith.
To assist the growing number of people seeking energy assistance, Smith says MCCSA is using surplus funds that were left from the year 2004. Once that runs out, he says the agency will have to turn some people away if more money is not appropriated.
Tips for saving on heating:
1. Seal leaks in doors and windows.
2. Turn down the thermostat.
3. Change air filters.
4. Close vents in unused rooms.