THE BRONX - Bronx residents faced with rising heating bills will have more public funds to tap into after the state allotted $2 million for equipment upgrades.

The state's Oil Efficiency Program will help about 500 low-income residents heat their homes and reduce costs. Officials say the equipment upgrades will also help cut smog, acid rain and pollution contributing to global warming.

Funding for the new state program comes from Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's settlement last year with the nation's largest power company over violations of the Clean Air Act.

Cuomo set aside $9.5 million to be used during the next five years for energy efficiency and air-pollution-reduction programs.