BOSTON (SHNS) – While she is in Boston on Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris will highlight steps the Biden administration has taken to try to blunt the financial hit of high home heating costs for millions of Americans this winter, to the tune of more than $13 billion.
A big part of what Harris plans to highlight is new money for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a source of home heating aid for low-income residents in Massachusetts and across the country.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday announced $4.5 billion in LIHEAP assistance for states this winter. U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan said Massachusetts will get $158.9 million in federal LIHEAP funding.
Gov. Charlie Baker, members of the state’s Congressional delegation and state lawmakers have said they are hoping for a major infusion of LIHEAP money this year as residents brace for hefty fuel bills. Harris will also tout nearly $9 billion in U.S. Department of Energy funding for new state- and Tribe-administered home efficiency programs established under the Inflation Reduction Act.
The White House said the DOE will split the funding across two rebate programs: one to retrofit homes to be more energy efficient and another for high efficiency and electric home appliances. Officials said 1.6 million households nationwide stand to benefit through utility bills that will eventually be lower.
“These steps will provide additional support for low- and moderate-income families, and complement tax credits that families and building owners can use under the Inflation Reduction Act to install energy-saving equipment and to make building upgrades,” the White House said.
Energy bills in Massachusetts and other states are about to soar. The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecast last month that homes heated by natural gas will see fuel bills rise by 28 percent from October to March while homes heated with oil will see prices climb 27 percent, electric rates by 10 percent and propane costs by 5 percent.
The vice president is expected to discuss energy prices at a “union hall and training facility in Boston” along with members of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers, the White House said.
Later in the day, she will join a handful of Democrats running statewide, like gubernatorial candidate Maura Healey, for a rally at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury.