Benefits of Connecticut's home heating assistance program to decrease in 2023

Connecticut's low-income Heating and Energy Assistance Program is headed back to pre-pandemic funding levels next year.

News 12 Staff

Aug 29, 2022, 9:35 PM

Updated 654 days ago

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State lawmakers approved a home heating assistance program for low-income families, but the benefits will be smaller than in previous years.
Connecticut's low-income Heating and Energy Assistance Program is headed back to pre-pandemic funding levels next year. The program has been supplemented with millions in CARES and ARPA funds since 2020.
"There's been obvious interest in the level of federal funding for this program," says Dr. Diedre Gifford, the commissioner of the Department of Social Services. "We know that that funding is not renewed for fiscal year '23, so we are returning to our historical levels of baseline block grant funding."
As federal funding for energy aid is set to take a 40% tumble, more residents than ever are expected to need the help now than in 2019.
"We had 81,000 households in that year, we anticipate 96,000 in the upcoming fiscal year. So, 15,000 more households,” Gifford says.
Officials say when you're taking more pieces out of a smaller pie, individual benefits come down.
"The basic benefit is about $100 less,” Gifford says.
Rep. Tom DelNicki adds, “At $4.57 a gallon, that means the individual or the family or the senior would have 22 gallons less in the way of oil.”
Participating energy suppliers will get a base price of 45 cents over their rack rate, which is up from 35 cents this year. Energy vendors say it's not enough to cover increased operating costs.
"Ten cents more is kind of a slap in the face, just based upon what's gonna happen with diesel costs, our insurance costs," says Ralph Carlo, the owner of Tracey Energy Services.
Republican appropriations committee members failed to add a late amendment to the plan that would have used leftover ARPA money to keep the benefits where they were.
"Why we're going to allow those funds to lay around idly when we could have used them in a more productive manner to help those who needed it, is really beyond me,” says Rep. Charles Ferraro
The committees also approved a Low Income Household Water Assistance Program to help families behind on their drinking water and waste water bills.


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