Struggling Illinoisans waiting for financial assistance with propane bills


Multimedia Journalist - Kathryn DiGisi

WEST FRANKFORT, IL - The state of Illinois promised more money for those struggling to pay their propane bills by Monday, but it was not ready to be distributed.

Energy Assistance employees are frustrated because they are not able to help the people coming in to their offices.

The waiting room at the LIHEAP office in West Frankfort was consistently busy on Monday.

Murl Hutson spent most of her life farther north and says she is used to the cold, but now, Southern Illinois is giving her a run for her money...literally.

Propane prices in Illinois are nearing $5.00/gallon.

"$500.00 on one, $400.00 on one and $300.00 something on another one already this year," said Hutson.

Last week, Governor Quinn said by Monday, state and federal assistance would be ready to hand out, but for some reason, it is not.

LIHEAP coordinator Kim Rutherford is frustrated.

"Until Springfield gets us that approval, we're kind of stuck," said Rutherford.

She is stuck fielding questions and concerns that she simply has no answer for.

"If everyone will just bear with us, that's what we need," said Rutherford.

She says the money will come, she just does not know when.

Even though the money is not yet ready to go out, you can still apply for assistance at your nearest LIHEAP office.

They recommend that you do so before you 25% propane in your tank.