For Immediate Release: Tuesday, January 19, 2010
(ST. PAUL, MN) The Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) today announced Minnesota has received an additional $34.9 million in federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program (EAP). When added to the $108.4 million in federal funds already received by the state, this allocation brings the total for the current heating season to $143.3 million.
The Department of Commerce reports it has already served more than 113,000 households with heating assistance grants through EAP. DOC will immediately put this latest allocation into the hands of the 37 local service providers who work with households to distribute the funds.
EAP applications have increased 10 percent this year compared to the same time last year. The program helps low-income customers pay their heating bills through grant money paid directly to the utility company on behalf of the customer.
Last year, Minnesota served 154,721 households with $118 million in federal funds. This year, the average grant per household is about $600. Customers with 50 percent or less of the state median income ($41,722 for a family of four) may qualify. Households with seniors, disabled, and children are especially encouraged to apply.
Qualifying families must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area. Funding is limited and is administered on a first-come-first-serve basis.
A list of local service providers and more information about the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program can be found on the Minnesota Department of Commerce website at www.energy.mn.gov by clicking on "Low Income Assistance."