Billions pumped into program to help combat higher winter heating costs
NEXSTAR (WASHINGTON) – Heating your home this winter will likely cost you extra. That’s why the Biden administration is putting billions of dollars toward programs to try to bring down energy costs.
The National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA) predicts the average family will have to spend around 17% more for heating this year. NEADA Executive Director Mark Wolfe says that’s causing concern.
“We’re in uncharted territory. Prices haven’t been this high in over 15 years. So it’s going to be very, very tough for families,” Wolfe said.
Experts say factors like the war in Ukraine are driving prices up.
The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it is adding $4.5 billion to an energy assistance program for low-income families, that’s run by NEADA.
“To help support folks with their heating costs as we go into the winter season,” National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi said.
Zaidi says they’re also giving $9 billion to a new rebate program for energy efficient upgrades.
“If you want to bend energy costs for the long term you have to help people make retrofits, upgrades in their homes,” Zaidi said.
Some are concerned that those steps won’t help everyone who will struggle this winter.
“Energy is just becoming unaffordable in the United States. And these funds are a step in the right direction. But it’s not going to be enough,” Wolfe said.
That’s why Wolfe says NEADA is asking Congress to add another $4 billion to the low-income energy assistance program.
He also wanted to see more people take advantage of the available funding.
“If a family is struggling to pay their home energy bill, they shouldn’t be embarrassed. They should apply for help,” Wolfe said.
In addition, he advises families to make home repairs to keep heat in and to look for ways to use less.
“The more you can reduce the amount you use, the lower your bill will be,” Wolfe said.
To apply for the assistance, you can call 1-866-674-6327 or go to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program website for more information