Tree-length wood debate

4:56 PM, Jan 14, 2013   |    comments
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BRIDGTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Karen Hawkins is already getting ready for winter. And that means cutting, splitting and stacking wood.

She'd like to use her fuel assistance money to buy tree length wood. Hawkins says its the best deal around.

"By buying a whole truckload, having it delivered here, cutting it with my chain saw and splitting it with the wood splitter, I get probably almost twice as much wood as if I received cut and split," says Hawkins.

But under the LIHEAP program, tree length wood isn't allowed. A spokeperson for Maine State Housing says it use to be--but so many consumers complained about being "shorted" that they decided to prohibit it. Now, that decision is being reconsidered.

Peter Merrill of MSHA says the agency is pulling experts together, including people from the state's weights and measures staff, to figure out a way to protect consumers and allow tree length wood to be purchased with fuel assistance dollars. He says given the present energy crisis, the state is trying to do all it can to help Mainers get through the winter.

But changing the rules requires public hearings and that takes time. So for this winter, Karen Hawkins will have to make do with cord wood--and make it last as long as she can.

This story was originally posted September 11, 2008.


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