NH Delegation Calls on State to Help Granite Staters Afford Home Energy Bills Using Federal FundingJune 17, 2022
(Washington, DC) – Following this week’s announcement of energy rate increases approved by New Hampshire’s Public Utilities Commission, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) are urging the state to use remaining funding that the delegation helped secure in the American Rescue Plan to provide financial assistance to help Granite Staters afford their home energy bills.
As a lead negotiator for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Shaheen pushed to increase Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding for Granite State families, leading to the highest total of LIHEAP funding ever received in a 12-month period in NH History.
Additionally, in March, Shaheen joined Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Chris Coons (D-DE) in introducing the bipartisan Weatherization Assistance Program Improvements Act. This program serves to expand access to weatherization service to low-income households that are currently ineligible for weatherization services due to their homes needing significant repairs.
Read the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation’s full letter here or below:
Dear Governor Sununu:
In the wake of this week’s announcement of rate increases approved by New Hampshire’s Public Utilities Commission, we write to encourage the state to use remaining funding that we helped secure in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to provide financial assistance to help Granite Staters afford their home energy bills.
A number of federal programs already help people from across the state afford their energy bills. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides New Hampshire families and households with assistance for paying their home energy bills. We helped secure more than $94 million in LIHEAP funding for the state in fiscal years 2021 and 2022, nearly double what the state received in the previous two years. We continue to push for additional robust LIHEAP and weatherization funding again this year. The federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program and the federal Homeowner Assistance Fund can also be used by eligible households to help pay for energy costs and other utility bills; we helped ensure that New Hampshire received hundreds of millions of dollars for these programs since 2020.
In addition, we fought to ensure that New Hampshire received nearly a billion dollars from the ARP State Fiscal Recovery Fund – money that can be used to help with energy bills. Congress allocated this money to help support state and local governments’ responses to the impacts of the pandemic and to minimize the harm to our communities and our economy. Helping families afford to pay their electric bills is a specifically enumerated eligible use of money from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund.
The state should now use money remaining from that original $1 billion federal allocation to stand up a home energy cost assistance program to supplement LIHEAP, including helping households that are struggling with high home energy bills but are not eligible under LIHEAP’s criteria. The state has discretion in how to use these federal funds and design such a program. We urge the state to act swiftly to provide this relief to Granite Staters as rate increases approved by the state’s Public Utilities Commission come into effect.
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