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Biden administration to provide over $13 billion in aid to help American families lower energy bills

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks at the annual Freedman’s Bank Forum at the Treasury Department in Washington, October 4, 2022.

Michael A. McCoy | Reuters

The Biden administration is providing over $13 billion in aid to help low- and moderate-income Americans lower their energy costs, including grants to pay electric bills as well other incentives to make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes.

Vice President Kamala Harris plans to announce the new initiative while visiting a sheet metal workers’ training facility and union hall in Boston later Wednesday, a senior administration official told reporters in a call Tuesday. The announcement reflects the administration’s efforts to lower energy costs amid extreme temperature shifts from climate change.

Under the initiative, the Department of Health and Human Services will release $4.5 billion in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program funding, which helps pay energy bills and energy-related home repairs for families. The amount will include $100 million from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and $1 billion in emergency funding that the administration requested earlier this year, the official said.

“We know that winter heating bills account for the largest share of low-income households’ home energy needs. So it is imperative that the funds reach households as efficiently and effectively as possible,” the official said.

The Biden administration will also provide roughly $9 billion to help low- and moderate-income families lower energy costs by making energy-efficient upgrades to their homes.

The funding will help up to 1.6 million homes, including installing 500,000 heat pumps.

Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, an estimated 700,000 homes will be weatherized due to the revised Weatherization Assistance Program, putting the administration on track to reach its goal of weatherizing 2 million homes, according to the White House.

“In sum, these programs will make these cost-saving upgrades more accessible for low- and moderate-income families as states gain momentum toward deploying at least 12 million heat pumps by 2030,” the White House said, according to a statement.

Harris has traveled the country over the past several months to promote the administration’s economic priorities under the Inflation Reduction Act. More than $300 million from the initiative will be invested in the state of Massachusetts.

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