The Biden administration is offering $13 billion to reduce energy costs. Here’s how to qualify.

The Biden administration said Wednesday that it is providing more than $13 billion to help Americans lower their energy costs this winter and improve the efficiency of their homes over the long term.

Announcement When Winter Energy Costs hope to climb This year, the average family paid a 10-year high of about $1,200 to heat their home.

The White House said in a statement that the aid is geared to help low- and middle-income families reduce energy costs this winter and beyond. The pressure to help families reduce their energy expenditure comes less than a week before the midterm election, with many Americans lamenting the economy battered by the highest inflation in 40 years.

Dennis Stinson, vice president of sales for Fujitsu General America, which makes products including heat pumps, said spending more time at home during the pandemic means increasing energy bills for millions of Americans.

“We are definitely seeing increased costs – rising fuel costs are the biggest driver, and there is a difference in usage,” he told CBS Moneywatch. “A few years ago, we left home and went to work – now it’s our office and our education center, so our usage is changing.”

Efforts to help lower energy costs will come through two main programs: the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, and a new effort through the Inflation Reduction Act to subsidize energy-efficient home upgrades.

Here’s how to qualify.

LIHEAP. what to know about

The Biden administration said it is providing an additional $4.5 billion to help lower winter heating costs for low-income households through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.

While LIHEAP is a federal program, it is administered through each state. This means you must apply through your state’s individual LIHEAP office (Here is a list for each state’s LIHEAP application site.)

In general, LIHEAP will help pay for heating and cooling bills and pay for weatherization, which can help reduce energy costs by improving your home’s efficiency.

The Biden administration said Wednesday that the new funding would cover “home heating costs of this winter and unpaid utility bills,” as well as pay for home energy repairs to make up for lower heating and cooling bills.

Each state has its own rules and regulations for LIHEAP, but programs are generally aimed at helping low-income families and have income limits as a result. For example, in Pennsylvania, the income limit for its LIHEAP is $41,625 for a family of four.

$9 billion in funding for heat pumps and other upgrades

The Biden administration also said it has allocated $9 billion in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act to heat pumps and other upgrades to make homes more efficient, with the funds going directly to the states.

The Energy Department said Wednesday that Texas and California are among the biggest beneficiaries, receiving $690 million and $582 million, respectively, for their programs. It expects exemptions and other funding to become available in 2023.

This is part of the Inflation Reduction Act effort. $14,000. provide up to For each eligible home to install heat pumps, electrical appliances and other upgrades that can make homes more energy efficient.

While rebate programs are currently being developed by each state, Stinson said consumers can learn more by talking with contractors about their current heating and cooling systems and determining whether it makes sense to upgrade. . With discounts, “you can almost finish it for free, to be honest,” he said.

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