Associated Press article

Farrell told a Senate panel she expects high heating oil costs will force many cash-strapped families to make tough choices between eating and staying warm.

"It is very tough looking into the eyes of these customers when they ask me what I think they should do," Farrell said in testimony Wednesday at a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee hearing. "I don't know what to tell them. For the first time I think some of my customers are going to have to choose between main essentials like groceries, gasoline, warm clothes and heating oil just to pay their bills."

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who heads the Small Business panel, warned of an impending crisis in the Northeast, which is more reliant on oil heat than other regions.

"It is reality not rhetoric that price spikes will force people to decide whether to feed their families or heat their homes," Kerry said at the hearing.

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