Murkowski Announces $19.1 Million for Alaskans Facing High Energy Costs
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded Alaska $11.2 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding to help low-income households lower their energy bills this winter, and $7.9 million in LIHEAP funds to help Tribes in Alaska.
LIHEAP is a congressionally funded program that provides financial assistance for heating costs for qualifying households. The program is administered at the state level by the State of Alaska and 13 Tribal Agencies across Alaska.
“With Alaskans continuing to face high energy costs, the support LIHEAP provides is more vital than ever,” said Senator Murkowski. “As a senior appropriator, I’ve championed LIHEAP and related programs to support Alaska families, while we simultaneously try to address the root causes of harmful energy costs in our state.”
This year’s LIHEAP funding was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023. Murkowski helped craft portions of the bill and supported its passage.
Maintaining safe indoor air temperatures is critical, particularly in winter months and for households that include older adults, individuals with disabilities, and young children. By helping to reduce the costs of home heating and cooling bills, reconnecting energy services that have been disconnected, preventing energy shutoffs, and providing for minor energy-related home repairs, LIHEAP helps ensure that thousands of Alaskans can meet their home energy needs and stay safe in their homes.
Earlier this month, Senator Murkowski, along with U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI) urged the Biden administration to swiftly release congressionally appropriated LIHEAP funds. Murkowski and Reed also led a bipartisan letter urging the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and HHS to take additional steps to reduce energy costs.
There are two components to the LIHEAP program:
- Heating Assistance: A grant to assist a household in meeting heating costs. The grant may be paid to a heating fuel vendor or utility company, or in a few cases, directly to the applicant.
- Crisis Assistance: A grant to help resolve a home heating crisis caused by a heat shut-off because of failure to pay a regulated energy bill, the inability to pay for deliverable fuel, or the failure of a heating system that is not repairable.
During Fiscal Year 2023, a total of 4,251 households and 13 Tribal organizations across Alaska received non-crisis heating assistance grants through LIHEAP.