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Help during the winter heating season

You have a number of resources you can turn to for fuel help during winter.

You can find help through discounted utility rates, City and state programs, home improvement services, and more. Please remember, you can always contact the City through 311 for any issues, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

The program, which operates from Nov. 1 until April 30, offers financial help to residents at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Set up an appointment with a local nonprofit to find out if you qualify for assistance.

Finding discounts

Utility companies

Utility companies offer discounted rates to low-income residents who meet certain requirements.

Oil cooperatives

Join an oil cooperative. Cooperatives save members money, and offer discounts to low-income customers and seniors.

What to expect during an oil delivery

The worker who delivers your order of home heating oil must give you a receipt. The receipt needs to include the price per gallon, the name of the oil dealer, your name, and a meter stamp of the volume of oil delivered.

Have a complaint?

If you have a complaint against your oil dealer or feel you were victimized, contact Consumer Affairs at 617-635-3834.

Heating your rental unit

Your landlord needs to provide you a working heating system. The system must heat living spaces to at least 68 degrees during the day (from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.), and at least 64 degrees at night (from 11:01 p.m. to 6:50 a.m.).

Your landlord needs to meet those heating requirements during the “heating season,” which starts on Sept. 15 and ends on June 15. Your hot water also needs to be at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit and at most 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you have a problem with your heat:

  • Check the thermostat and make sure it’s on.
  • Make sure you have oil in your tank.
  • Check to see if your gas service was turned off.
  • If you can’t figure out the issue, call the property manager or owner.
  • If the property manager or owner is unresponsive, call Inspection Services at 617-635-5322, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can call 311 after hours.
Tips for tenants

If there are circuit breakers, utility meters, or oil tanks in the basement, your landlord needs to give you access to the basement. You don’t have to call your landlord before calling Inspectional Services, but you should give your landlord a chance to make repairs.

Non-emergency repairs

For non-emergency repairs in your apartment, your landlord needs to give you “reasonable notice.” Reasonable notice is at least 24 hours.

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