The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)

Hochul announces resources to help New Yorkers save on home energy bills

- Staff report

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the availabili­ty of resources to help New Yorkers save on their home energy bills. A second emergency benefit through the Home Energy Assistance Program is now available for eligible New Yorkers in danger of running out of heating fuel or having their utility service shut off. Additional­ly, the Department of State is sharing practical tips to help consumers reduce their utility bills and has released a new Guide to Home Heating with Oil and Propane, which provides tips to help consumers who use heating oil and propane fuel reduce their heating bills and save while shopping for fuel.

“We are at the peak of this winter season which can lead to higher heat and energy bills, and my administra­tion will continue to take action to make utilities more affordable in New York,” Hochul said in a news release. “It is important for New Yorkers to take advantage of the State’s cost assistance and residentia­l programs to help reduce these energy costs. Following these tips can help save money and protect our vulnerable population­s during the cold season.”

HEAP, which is overseen by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, is federally funded and can help eligible New Yorkers heat and cool their homes. Normally, eligible households can receive one regular HEAP benefit each winter and could also be eligible for a single emergency HEAP benefit if they face an energy crisis. Those that have already received a regular and emergency benefit this winter will be able to apply for an additional emergency benefit, if they are facing a utility shut-off or are running out of heating fuel and cannot afford to replenish it.

The amount a household receives from HEAP depends on income, household size and how the home is heated. A family of four can earn up to $5,485 per month and still qualify for assistance. A needy household that heats with oil and qualifies for a regular HEAP benefit and two emergency benefits could receive nearly $3,000 in total assistance this winter. Applicatio­ns for emergency HEAP benefits are accepted at local department­s of social services in person or by telephone.

New York State also offers numerous cost assistance programs for qualifying applicants, as well as a variety of residentia­l programs to help reduce home energy costs for all income groups:

NYSERDA offers a range of residentia­l programs designed to help New York State residents identify areas where their homes are driving up energy costs and can provide assistance in completing energy efficiency improvemen­ts for a healthier, more comfortabl­e home.

New Yorkers can conduct an energy audit of their home or apartment to learn about recommende­d efficiency improvemen­ts to save money on your energy bill. An audit can provide informatio­n on low-cost improvemen­ts as well as largescale investment­s and available financial resources.

The NYS Weatheriza­tion Assistance Program, which is administer­ed by NYS Homes and Community Renewal, is the largest residentia­l energy conservati­on program in the country. The program assists income-eligible homeowners and renters in New York by reducing heating and cooling costs through energy-conservati­on measures, while also addressing health and safety issues in their homes.

In addition to the Home Heating with Oil and Propane Guide, the Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection is offering the following tips to help consumers reduce energy costs and heating bills:

 ?? FILE PHOTO ?? Gov. Kathy Hochul
FILE PHOTO Gov. Kathy Hochul

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