Coming from its $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, the Biden administration is offering to help distribute several billion dollars to aid families with winter heating and other utility bills.
The package provided an additional $4.5 billion for the government’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which typically has funding of $3 billion to $4 billion annually. Aid for renters can also cover utility costs, while the money provided to state, local and tribal governments can help families that face high heating bills and are ineligible for other programs.
“It’s another example of where the American Rescue Plan included extra precautions to ensure we would be prepared,” said Gene Sperling, who is overseeing coronavirus relief for the White House. “These new programs and funding were designed to ensure that if the weather was colder or the prices were higher, we would have the highest resources ever to help as many hard-pressed families as possible.”
The aid helps to create a cushion that limits the shock of higher energy costs ahead of winter.
The administration is also calling on utilities and energy companies to use the available government resources to protect their most vulnerable customers. DTE Energy, Eversource, National Grid, NorthWestern Energy, Green Mountain Power, Portland General Electric, Vermont Gas, and the delivered fuel trade association NEFI have agreed to identify and notify eligible recipients and guarantee no shutoffs for customers seeking assistance.
– Ella Breedlove