Amidst Worldwide Energy Price Spike & Record Demand, RI Gets $52.7M in Federal LIHEAP Aid to Help Pay Home Energy Bills
WAHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline announced that Rhode Island has received a total of $52.7 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) available this fiscal year, which runs through September 2022.
In addition to an annual appropriation of $21.9 million for Rhode Island, the Ocean State received an additional $30.8 million in federal funds through the American Rescue Plan Act (P.L. 117-2). – more than double the state’s typical annual funding. The $52.7 million represents the highest one year total Rhode Island has ever received in LIHEAP funding, which helps low-income households pay their energy bills.
Last year, the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats delivered a total of nearly $8 billion in LIHEAP funding nationally, more than doubling typical annual appropriations due to the additional $4.5 billion in LIHEAP aid provided under the American Rescue Plan Act.
“LIHEAP is a real lifeline that helps thousands of Rhode Islanders keep their utilities on during the cold winter months. LIHEAP assistance is available now and anyone who needs it should call their local Community Action Program for help,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee who leads the annual bipartisan Congressional request for LIHEAP assistance and championed the inclusion of a LIHEAP boost in the American Rescue Plan Act.
“Senator Reed has been a champion for LIHEAP for many years, and I applaud his advocacy in getting this funding into the relief bill. LIHEAP provides vital support to keep families warm and safe at home during the cold months,” said Senator Whitehouse. “I’m pleased to report that there is a historic amount of funding available to help Rhode Islanders heat their homes this winter thanks to our American Rescue Plan.”
“As temperatures drop across the Ocean State, it’s more important than ever to lower energy costs so that Rhode Island families can afford to heat their homes this winter,” said Rep. Jim Langevin. “Together with my colleagues, we have delivered millions in federal funding so that every Rhode Islander can stay safe and warm during these cold winter months.”
“As we continue to build back better from the health and economic crises brought about by the pandemic, we need to make sure that every Rhode Islander has the support they need to succeed,” said Congressman Cicilline. “No family or senior should have to worry about staying safe and warm this winter, and this funding will make that a reality.”
Nationwide, an estimated 5.3 million households received assistance with heating and cooling costs through LIHEAP in 2020.
Over 26,000 Rhode Island households benefitted from LIHEAP last year, with the average annual LIHEAP benefit covering about $550 in winter home heating costs for Rhode Islanders.
LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps low-income households with their home energy bills by providing payment and/or energy crisis assistance to pay for gas, electric, and other methods customers use to heat their homes.
Rhode Islanders wishing to apply for LIHEAP may go to the Rhode Island Department of Human Services website to get more information and links to an online application. Or, Rhode Islanders may contact their local Community Action Agency. Eligibility for LIHEAP is based on income, family size, and the availability of resources.