The CITGO-Venezuela Heating Oil Program, in partnership with Citizens Program Corporation, began in 2005 in response to decreased oil supply resulting from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Dwindling oil supply led to steep increases in fuel costs, which in turn affected some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the United States. At the time, the tightening of resources available through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) placed additional burdens on family budgets already stretched thin. With the pivotal support of its shareholder, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), CITGO was the only oil company to respond to the crisis.
Today, the program assists low-income families often forced to choose between heating their homes, buying groceries, or filling a prescription. In October 2010, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced that households heating primarily with heating oil are expected to spend an average of $2,124 this winter season, an increase of $218 over the previous winter.
Since its creation, the program has helped more than 1.8 million people keep warm. ('05-'14).