NEW YORK (WKBW) — Governor Kathy Hochul is warning New Yorkers of rising energy costs and announced the launch of an enhanced statewide campaign to provide assistance.
According to the governor's office, the state has sent letters to all of New York's major electric and gas utilities requiring them to increase outreach and education efforts on the rise in energy supply prices as a result of the rising cost of natural gas and the impact it will have on utility bills.
The governor has also launched an enhanced statewide campaign aimed at connecting low-income customers to millions of dollars in aid that are available.
The extreme utility bill increases all of us are seeing are having a serious impact on our household budgets, and in response we are taking action. I have directed the Department of Public Service to ensure all the major electric and gas utilities in the state work with customers, and in particular, our most vulnerable residents to protect them from volatile pricing and educate them about resources available to them.
- The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which can provide up to $751 to eligible homeowners and renters depending on income, household size and how they heat their home. A family of four may have a maximum gross monthly income of $5,249, or an annual gross income of $62,983, and still qualify for benefits. So far, 1.5 million regular HEAP benefits have been received by eligible households, totaling $216 million.
- New York State is also providing $250 million in additional federal funding to help low-income households pay heating utility arrears up to $10,000 per household. So far, almost 115,000 Regular Arrears Supplement benefits have been issued, and $183 million in arrears have been paid off for eligible households.
- $90 million in federal funding through Emergency HEAP was made available to help low- and middle-income New Yorkers avoid having their home heating disconnected or exhausting their heating source amid fuel price increases. Currently, $58 million in funding remains available to help low- and middle-income New Yorkers avoid having their home heating disconnected or exhausting their heating source amid fuel price increases this winter.
- An increase the budget for the statewide Energy Affordability Policy program by the PSC in 2021 from $237.6 million to $366.7 million and expanded eligibility, resulting in about 95,000 more low-income customers that will be able to receive benefits. Since September 2021, approximately $183 million in bill discounts were issued by utilities to eligible customers.
- Bill Payment Options: Residential consumers can inquire with their utility provider about billing options that allow for deferred payments or 'budget billing' to even out utility bills that are higher in one season and lower in another. This can help structure payments to make it easier to navigate costs.
- For low-income households facing no-heat situations, OTDA is also accepting applications for its heating equipment repair or replacement benefit. Eligible homeowners can now apply for up to $3,000 for repair or $6,500 for replacement of a furnace, boiler or other direct heating equipment necessary to keep the household's primary heating source working. Additionally, eligible households can receive energy efficiency services, which includes the cleaning of primary heating equipment to allow for its safe and efficient operation. Interested households can apply with their local HEAP contact.