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Connecticut may have enough money to help keep low-income households warm this winter

FILE - Daniel DiDonato, a deliveryman for Heatable, brings heating oil to a home in Lewiston, Maine, Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
Robert F. Bukaty
With additional funding from Congress, Connecticut may have enough funding to keep low-income households warm through its Energy Assistance Program.

The Connecticut Energy Assistance Program’s coffers have been swelled with $30 million in additional American Rescue Plan Act money approved by state lawmakers last November, and another $20 million from the federal omnibus spending package passed by Congress last December.

That means there might be enough state and federal money available to keep low-income households warm this winter, Governor Ned Lamont said at an event introducing his energy action plan.

“We were pleasantly surprised when we got an extra 20% from the feds in the last month or so," Lamont said. "And we’ll see where that demand is, but we are making sure that people can afford their home heating.”

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said he believes his colleagues would be prepared to approve more money if needed.

“It enables people, basically, to stay in their homes," Blumenthal said. "People should not be forced to choose between heating and eating.”

The extra money means households participating in the state’s home heating oil assistance program would receive an additional crisis benefit of $430 this winter. That would bring the total benefit to $2,320 per household.

More than 100,000 Connecticut households are being served by the program, according to state officials.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.