01.31.14

Rhode Island to Receive $3 Million in Heating Assistance

Providence, RI – The Obama Administration announced Thursday that Rhode Island will receive $3 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding to help low-income Rhode Islanders pay their heating bills.  Earlier this week, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse asked U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to expedite the release of these funds, citing high energy costs and extreme cold afflicting the region.

“During these difficult economic times – and as we endure frigid temperatures – this heating assistance is welcome news for Rhode Islanders struggling to pay the high cost of energy,” Whitehouse said. “I’m happy to stand by Sen. Reed in his tireless efforts to secure LIHEAP funding on behalf of Rhode Island families, and I’m glad the Administration heeded our call to release this critical resource.”

LIHEAP is a federal program that provides states with annual funding to operate home energy assistance programs for low-income households.  Congress made this quarter’s LIHEAP funding available under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, which passed Congress earlier this month.

On January 28th, Sens. Reed and Whitehouse wrote to Secretary Sebelius to request the immediate release of LIHEAP funds to the state.  In their letter, the Senators noted that New Englanders paid over 15 times more than they usually do for natural gas during last week’s cold snap and heating oil currently costs over $4 per gallon in Rhode Island.  The letter also noted that nine out of ten Rhode Island households depend on natural gas and heating oil to heat their homes, making LIHEAP assistance even more critical.

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