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Hmmm. Of all the articles the Washington Times could have chosen as its lead story today, it picked this one: “Record numbers seek heating aid.”

The D.C. Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helped a record number — more than 30,000 — households during fiscal 2008. Of those, 8,000 had at least one child younger than 5. The program offers one-time grants to help low-income residents pay overdue utility bills and suggest ways to use less energy.

About 1,000 D.C. residents were turned away from an annual Joint Utility Discount Day, hosted Sept. 30 by the city and utility companies to offer discounts on bills and to enroll residents in the city’s energy-assistance program. Organizers were overwhelmed when more than 7,000 residents arrived.

Is this the biggest news in the area/country/world? I’m thinking no. But, it could be the big economic gripe on the horizon. This summer was all about gas prices being too high, and “staycations.” It’s hard to imagine what new and quirky vernacular will come out of people freezing in their under-heated homes. But, according to the story, the Associated Press found that utility shut-offs because of unpaid bills are up 22 percent from last year.