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Last year’s astronomical winter jump in fuel prices bit down hard on the wallets of many D.C. residents. According to figures from the District’s Consumer Utility Board (CUB), natural gas bills rose, on average, anywhere from 50 percent to 300 percent. “Some people are still paying their bills,” says Kathleen Wills, who chairs the D.C. Federation of Civic Associations’ housing committee. Wills’ organization is among those co-sponsoring a community forum on Nov. 17 at the Martin Luther King Memorial Library to get a jump on what the upcoming winter may bring. Among those in attendance will be representatives from Washington Gas, the U.S. Department of Energy, the city’s Public Service Commission, the D.C. Energy Office and the District’s Office of People’s Counsel. “At the end of the meeting,” says CUB Chair Herbert Harris Jr., “people will walk away with a better idea of what the forecast will be and what resources are available if they run into trouble.” —Richard Byrne