BOSTON (SHNS) – Massachusetts is in line to receive nearly $37 million more in heating aid for families in need under a new federal spending bill, and with energy prices forecast to soar this winter, the state’s Congressional delegation wants the Biden administration to get the money out the door quickly.

All nine U.S. House members and two U.S. senators from the Bay State wrote to the Division of Energy Assistance on Tuesday calling for the federal government to “expedite” its release of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, grants.

The delegation, led in the effort by Congresswoman Lori Trahan, wants those dollars to start flowing a few weeks earlier than usual to help families bulwark against the enormous financial strain projected to hit when temperatures drop.

“States, territories, and tribes are eagerly awaiting access to these LIHEAP grants as they have already submitted their plans for distributing these funds for the upcoming fiscal year,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the News Service. “Though LIHEAP funds in recent years have been released in early November, we know from past data that it is possible for funds to be released as soon as mid-October.”

President Joe Biden on Friday evening signed a government funding package that includes a $1 billion supplemental increase for LIHEAP. Trahan’s office estimated Friday that Massachusetts will get a $36.9 million share of that boost.

Last fiscal year, the government provided Massachusetts with a $120.5 million annual LIHEAP appropriation plus another $187.1 million in LIHEAP funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.

“Massachusetts families are scrambling right now to figure out how they’re going to afford their heating and utility bills this winter. Many families simply can’t afford a $40 or $50 increase each month, let alone over a hundred bucks. Growing up, my family certainly wouldn’t have been able to,” Trahan said in a statement Friday. “I support this huge increase in home heating assistance funding because no family should be forced to choose between keeping their family warm or putting food on the table. Now, we have to work to get this funding flowing to the families who will be hit hardest by these price increases as soon as possible.”

Homeowners and renters can apply for LIHEAP funding to assist with fuel costs if they earn 60 percent or less of the state median income, which in fiscal year 2023 is about $42,411 for a single household and $81,561 for a four-person household.

Trahan’s office said 134,180 low-income Massachusetts households received LIHEAP aid last season, representing less than one-fifth of the 813,161 households that were eligible.

LIHEAP has drawn significant attention in recent weeks as the outlook for winter energy prices becomes more grim, particularly in New England, where about half of the electric grid is powered by natural gas or liquid natural gas. Those commodities are sensitive to factors like Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

The congressional delegation warned that the energy market upheaval caused by “Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine” is also “compounded by the COVID pandemic, which has stretched global supply chains thin and increased the cost of energy.”

National Grid projected that some of its customers could see their monthly electric bills jump more than 60 percent this winter, calling the price of natural gas “significantly higher this winter due to global conflict, inflation and high demand.”

For a household on basic service that uses 600 kilowatt-hours of power, the cost could jump from $179 per month last season to $293 per month in the coming season, National Grid said.

“This dramatic cost increase will come at a time when people are already burdened by increased energy costs from the previous winter when over 750,000 Massachusetts households fell behind on their power bills,” the congressional delegation wrote Tuesday. “Urgent relief is required for our communities lest they suffer unnecessarily because of Putin’s ruthless aggression and determination to weaponize energy prices.”

Gov. Charlie Baker and his counterparts in other New England states last week urged a Congressional panel to support Biden’s request for at least $500 million in emergency LIHEAP funds. The continuing resolution Congress ultimately approved doubled that figure.

Baker also proposed another $10 million for LIHEAP in a closeout budget bill that state lawmakers have not touched since sending it to the House Ways and Means Committee on Sept. 1.