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Connecticut receives $21 million to help heat low-income households this winter

PSEG

Connecticut will receive $21 million in emergency supplemental funding to help heat low-income homes this winter season.

The funding is a part of a $1 billion federal appropriations package signed by President Joe Biden on Friday to provide money for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This federal assistance followed a bipartisan letter sent to the Biden administration in early September by 12 U.S. senators from New England, including Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy (D-CT).

“In a winter that is scheduled to be colder than last winter, a winter with fuel prices that are higher than last year, a winter where many families are still rebounding economically from the pandemic, we needed this shot in the arm,” Murphy said at the Community Action Agency of New Haven for the announcement on Monday.

He was joined by Blumenthal, Governor Ned Lamont, state Social Services Commissioner Deidre Gifford, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who chairs the House Appropriations Committee.

Murphy said he expects one-third of families in the state to struggle to pay for their energy costs this winter. While Connecticut currently has the cheapest gas and lowest electric prices in New England, these lowered rates are not expected to stay with the war in Ukraine.

“Right now many families face an absolutely unacceptable choice: heat or eat," Blumenthal said. "That’s the choice faced by many families including working families.”

Due to the increasing rates, many families are already behind on paying off their electricity bills.

Hearst Connecticut Media reports around 420,000 residents were at least 30 days late in making electric and natural gas payments in August.

The $21 million can be applied for through the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program, which will assist residents heating up their home as temperatures begin to drop,

It's designed to help families who are behind on paying their electricity bills. The average family of four that makes less than $76,000 can apply for this program, while a single person who earns less than $40,000 can be eligible, too.

A household may receive a financial benefit to their heating bill between $250 and $600 depending on their situation. According to the program, the benefits are usually paid directly to a household's utility company or fuel supplier.

Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.