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News: International

U.S. Poor to Benefit from 6th Year of Subsidized Venezuelan Heating Oil

Mérida, January 28th 2011 ( – Yesterday Venezuela’s Petroluem Corporation, CITGO announced the start of its sixth year providing subsidized heating oil to low-income people in the United States. An estimated 132,000 households across the U.S. will benefit from the program this year, amounting to $60 million dollars worth of savings. 

Joseph P. Kennedy II, son of the late U.S politician Robert Kennedy and president of Citizen Energy Corporation, the U.S.-based non-profit organization that partnered with Citgo in 2005 to launch the Citgo-Venezuela Heating Oil Program, spoke at the Citgo ceremony on Thursday.

“Every year, we hear from families who struggle each and every day to put food on the table and heat their homes,” he said.

“We are deeply grateful to CITGO and the people of Venezuela for their generosity to those who need help keeping their families warm. Every year, we ask major oil companies and oil-producing nations to help our senior citizens and the poor make it through winter, and only one company, CITGO, and one country, Venezuela, has responded to our appeals,” he said.

Citgo is a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A.

In 2010, an estimated 500,000 people in the U.S. benefited from the program, including 157,000 low-income households, almost 850 large-scale apartment buildings, 245 homeless shelters, and over 250 tribal communities. In total, 26 million gallons of heating oil were distributed to people in 25 states, as well as Washington, D.C.

Citgo has delivered 170 million gallons (772 million liters) of heating fuel since the start of the program, according to AFP.

“CITGO is very proud to mark the sixth anniversary of our Heating Oil Program, our flagship social development initiative, which is in alignment with the humanitarian and solidarity principles endorsed by the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela through its national oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A (PDVSA),” said CITGO president Alejandro Granado, during Yesterday’s ceremony.

"What would each one of us choose if we could only afford one or the other?  Would you warm your home or feed your family? Those are decisions no one should have to make," said Granado.

In a 2005 Boston Globe column, Kennedy wrote on the impact of rising fuel costs on low-income U.S. households:

“To middle class households, higher energy prices mean less disposable income. But for the poor, higher prices and eroding benefits mean cutting back on necessities, huddling around the kitchen stove, using dangerous space heaters, closing off rooms to cut fuel bills, and wearing coats indoors. Child nutrition in poor neighborhoods dramatically declines during periods of cold weather and rising fuel bills.”

Author’s Note: People in the U.S. struggling to pay for home heating oil are encouraged to call Citizens Energy Corporation at 1-877-JOE-4-OIL (1-877-563-4645) or apply online at to see if they are eligible for heating oil assistance from the Citgo-Venezuela Heating Oil Program.

Published on Jan 28th 2011 at 8.51pm