Heating assistance available in MinnesotaThe Minnesota Department of Commerce, Office of Energy Security (OES) said the state will soon receive its first installment of federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program (EAP).
By: Staff Report, Alexandria Echo Press
The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Office of Energy Security (OES) said the state will soon receive its first installment of federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program (EAP).
In its first release of funds for the 2011 program year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which funds LIHEAP, has allocated $64.8 million to Minnesota. Additional funds will be disbursed to the state throughout the program year.
LIHEAP is administered by OES through 36 local service providers throughout the state. The program helps low-income customers pay their heating bills with grant money paid directly to the utility company on behalf of the customer. Funding is limited and is administered on a first-come, first-served basis.
Last year, Minnesota served 164,801 households with $160 million in federal funds. This year, the average grant per household is expected to be about $500. Customers with 50 percent or less of the state median income ($43,500 for a family of four) may qualify. Households with seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children are especially encouraged to apply.
A list of local service providers and more information about LIHEAP can be found at www.staywarm.mn.gov or by calling 651-296-5175 or toll free in Minnesota 1-800-657-3710.
In addition, the Energy Information Center at the Minnesota Department of Commerce provides a wide range of energy-saving information that can help any homeowner control their heating costs. Steps homeowners can take include:
--Sealing attic bypasses. The Attic Bypass Guide from the Energy Information Center can help homeowners locate and fix leaks inside their homes that allow heated air to escape into the attic.
--Turn down the thermostat to 65 degrees while at home and 55 or 60 degrees when away or asleep.
--Replace an old furnace with a new, efficient model. Look for the ENERGY STAR label on all new appliances.
--Replace or clean furnace filters monthly during the heating season.
--Place window film on the interior of the leakiest windows in the home.
--Install a carbon monoxide alarm.
--Call their utility about a home energy audit and ask about a budget plan to spread out heating costs.
--Keep radiators and duct registers clean.
Homeowners who would like more information on LIHEAP or additional energy-saving tips should contact the Minnesota Department of Commerce Energy Info Center at:
651-296-5175 or toll free in Minnesota 1-800-657-3710
On the web: www.staywarm.mn.gov Click on Energy Info Center