Winter Home heating costs are becoming increasingly unaffordable for millions of lower-income families. The National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA) representing the state directors of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) last week released its projections of home heating costs for the upcoming winter heating season. The average cost of home heating is estimated to increase by 17.2% since last winter heating season from $1,025 to $1,202. This would be the second year in a row of major price increases. Between 2020-21 and 2021-23, the cost of home energy would increase by more than 35%. The report shows that these are the highest prices in more than 10 years.
According to Mark Wolfe, Executive Director of NEADA, the rise in home energy costs this winter will put millions of lower-income families at risk of falling behind on their energy bills and having no choice but to make difficult decisions between paying for food, medicine, and rent. As a result, NEADA sent a letter last week to the Congressional Leadership asking for a supplemental increase in LIHEAP of $5 billion to cover the higher cost of home heating and cooling as a result of an increased number of summer heat waves.
Over the past few years, the Home Energy Assistance Program has received an annual appropriation of almost $4 billion. The American Rescue Plan, a big pandemic relief package passed by Congress in 2021, provided an extra $4.5 billion, but additional dollars appear unlikely.
In Adams County, help could be available to you to combat soaring energy prices. The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a federally funded program administered by the Ohio Department of Development, Office of Community Service (OCS). It is designed to help eligible low-income Ohioans meet the high costs of home heating. HEAP provides a one-time payment for Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) regulated utility customers for the winter heating season. Vouchers are issued to non-regulated utility customers, master-metered and other applicants who do not have a utility bill in their name. To learn more information, call the HEAP helpline at 800-282-0880.