Vice President Kamala Harris will announce on Wednesday that the Biden administration will support new levels of energy spending for Americans this winter.
The US Department of Health and Human Services is providing $4.5 billion in assistance to help cut heating costs through the Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP), according to the White House.
“In addition to supporting home heating costs this winter and lower utility bills, the program will help families make cost-effective home repairs to lower their heating and cooling bills,” the White House said in a statement.
LIHEAP last year helped 5.3 million families across the United States with heating, cooling and weatherization, according to the White House.
The US Department of Energy will also provide $9 billion in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act to support up to 1.6 million households nationwide in upgrading their homes to reduce energy bills. This will be divided into two programs to reduce: one for whole-house energy efficiency retrofits, and another for highly efficient electrical home aids, according to the White House.
“In addition to lowering costs, energy efficient and electrical building and equipment upgrades can reduce indoor and outdoor air pollution, improving the health of our communities,” the White House said. “Furthermore, greenhouse gas emissions add up to millions of tons each year to contribute to climate change.”
Harris will discuss the initiative while visiting the union hall and training facility in Boston on Wednesday, according to the White House.
Nearly half of U.S. households rely on natural gas for heating, and their bills could jump 28% this winter, compared with last winter, when heating oil bills are projected to be 27% higher and electricity 10% higher, according to a recent analysis from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an independent agency. in the US Department of Energy.
The National Energy Assistant Directors Association, which represents LIHEAP state managers, said in a recent report that the cost of energy this winter will be more than a decade. This comes amid increased inflation rates, with US consumer prices rising to a 40-year high of 6.6% in September.
There are several contributing factors, including a rebound in global energy consumption since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has driven prices down, and Russia’s war in Ukraine by increasing prices and reducing supplies.