PEARL RIVER Orange & Rockland Utilities’ Neighbor Fund has re-opened for the winter heating season. The fund provides home-heating assistance for those O&R customers who find themselves unable to pay their home-heating fuel bills because of emergency financial conditions. Since 1983, the fund has awarded nearly $4 million in grants to about 15,000 households enduring financial hardship. Last year, O&R made grants totaling more than $70,000. Half of that grant total comes from O&R customers’ contributions. That amount is matched dollar-for-dollar by the shareholders of Consolidated Edison, Inc., O&R’s parent company. The fund provides a one-time grant for electric customers of $250 and for heating fuel customers of $250. Grants are awarded to pay for home energy costs no matter what type of fuel is used: electricity, oil, natural gas, propane, wood or coal. The grant money does not have to be repaid, and there are no age limits or income guidelines to be met. To qualify for grant, individuals must have an account with O&R, or Pike County Light & Power Company (PCL&P) and must already have exhausted all governmental resources available for financial assistance. They must also provide supporting documentation of emergency/crisis circumstances (medical bills, unemployment notification, etc.) The Salvation Army administers the program, evaluates applications and makes the grants.