High energy costs eyed amid brutal US cold snap; dog freezes

AP Photo/Bill Sikes People walk past a blue lobster ice sculpture outside the New England Aquarium as the temperature hovers in the low teens, Thursday in Boston.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik A boy has his face bundled against temperatures in the teens on the National Mall Thursday in Washington.

L. Todd Spencer/The Virginian-Pilot via AP Icicles hang from the fountain at Town Center in Virginia Beach, Va., on Thursday morning.

L. Todd Spencer/The Virginian-Pilot via AP As the weather turns colder, water along the edge of one of the many creeks in the Pungo section of in Virginia Beach, Va., begins to freeze, Thursday.

L. Todd Spencer/The Virginian-Pilot via AP Joe Scharpf cross country skis on a trail after a fresh snowfall in the south chagrin reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks, Thursday in Moreland Hills, Ohio.

PORTLAND, Maine — Plunging temperatures across half the country on Thursday underscored a stark reality for low-income Americans who rely on heating aid: Their dollars aren’t going to go as far this winter because of rising energy costs.