With a blizzard on the horizon and energy bills rising across New York State, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand revealed that she successfully fought to include $5 billion in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding in the recently released bipartisan funding package. This winter, costs are projected to increase for natural gas by 28%, heating oil by 27%, and electricity by 10% compared to last winter, and this robust funding will help ensure every person in New York has the resources to offset these burdensome costs. The bipartisan funding package is expected to be passed by Congress and signed into law this week.
“As we prepare for a potential bomb cyclone to hit the United States, it is imperative that New Yorkers have access to shelter and heated living conditions. Going without utilities, especially heat during a blizzard, is simply not an option,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The $5 billion in LIHEAP assistance I helped secure in the end-of-year spending bill means families have a lifeline to rely on this holiday season as energy costs continue to soar. Every person deserves access to a comfortable and safe home, regardless of their socioeconomic status, which is why I fight year after year for robust LIHEAP funding and will continue my push to protect consumers from harmful energy market manipulation.”
Senator Gillibrand has consistently worked to help New Yorkers afford their utilities. Earlier this year, Gillibrand successfully fought for $1 billion in emergency supplemental LIHEAP funding in the short-term government funding package passed in September. This aid delivered over $63 million in additional support for New Yorkers to defray their home energy costs this winter on top of the $349 million appropriated from the regular LIHEAP block grant and the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Earlier this year, Senator Gillibrand called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to use its statutory authority to ensure that Americans’ household energy bills would not be driven up by energy market manipulation in wholesale natural gas and electricity markets. Last year, she called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to address the ongoing energy crisis and ensure families that rely on LIHEAP had the resources they needed to stay warm through the winter. When millions of workers were laid off at the onset of the pandemic, Senator Gillibrand fought alongside her colleagues to deliver $900 million in LIHEAP funding in the CARES Act and an additional $4.5 billion in supplemental funding to the program as part of the American Rescue Plan. She is also a cosponsor of the Heating and Cooling Relief Act, which would expand LIHEAP to universalize energy assistance for all those who need it.