January 27, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Office of U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today announced that Maine will be receiving $55.2 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) funds this fiscal year from the American Rescue Plan – more than doubling the state’s typical funding. Through the American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, and annual Congressional appropriations, Maine will receive a total of $90.2 million in 2022 from the program, the largest amount since it was first established in 1981. In total, the American Rescue Plan will deliver an additional $4.5 billion in LIHEAP funds nationally, after the bill passed the Senate last year 50-49. This will mean more heating assistance for Maine’s families, seniors, and vulnerable populations during the coldest months of the year.
“In the midst of a cold Maine winter, there are few things more important to families than being able to keep your house warm, and your loved ones safe. For years, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program has done just that – providing vital heating aid to thousands of vulnerable Maine households in need,” said Senator King. “Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the program will double its funding to Maine and help our state get through the winter as we continue to stabilize from the economic impacts of the pandemic. This will help ensure seniors and low-income families don’t have to make tough choices between paying for heating, or putting food on the table. I’m glad the American Rescue Plan included this vital aid, and that it continues to support our state.”
LIHEAP is critical to helping vulnerable households meet their home energy needs, particularly as heating costs are estimated to rise this year. Nationwide, an estimated 5.3 million households received assistance with heating and cooling costs through LIHEAP in 2020. In 2020, Maine was awarded more than $40 million in annual federal LIHEAP appropriations, which served nearly 33,000 households across the state. These services have been a lifeline to many individuals and families who would have faced shutoffs or significant debt, not to mention the health implications of unsafe indoor temperatures, particularly for households with members who are elderly, disabled, and/or a young child.
Senator King has consistently worked to help lower energy prices for Maine people, and has been a long supporter of the LIHEAP Program. He urged the administration to include LIHEAP aid in the American Rescue Plan, and days ago announced $680,000 in new LIHEAP funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. He has also spoken out against increasing exports of LNG when more natural gas is desperately needed in Maine and across New England.
Senator King voted for and worked to negotiate the American Rescue Plan, which has given Maine the resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and help local economies recover. It included more than $128 million to expand Maine broadband, nearly $1.5 billion in aid to Maine’s state, county, and local governments, and over $56 million in assistance for Maine’s small business community. You can find a full overview of the American Rescue Plan’s impact on the State of Maine HERE.