Here in Maryland, this winter has been milder than usual but ask anyone with natural gas heating and you’ll hear a different story. In Pittsburgh, my girlfriend’s sister’s heating bill for an apartment (size known, but she’s in college, it can’t be too large) topped $500, though I suspect an error or foul play is involved. I have friends who have been walloped for a solid two or three hundred dollars for heating these past few months. Depending on your income, you may be eligible for federal assistance when it comes to your heating and electricity bills.
The best place for information is the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Clearinghouse Web site  for state specific information.
Take a look at Maryland’s profile  and you’ll see that the income eligibility level is 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), so you are eligible for assistance if you earn less than that amount. This number is calculated by the Census Bureau and 2004 statistics are available on their website .
If you are eligible, you can usually get a few hundred dollar one-time assistance payment (depending on your income).