Senator joined bipartisan group of 45 Senators calling for release of FY15 funds; nearly $132 million released for Massachusetts

BOSTON (October 15, 2014) – Today, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) applauded the decision by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to release the initial LIHEAP funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. Earlier this month, Senator Markey sent a letter with a bipartisan group of 45 Senators calling on the Obama administration to release the maximum amount of low-income energy assistance funds allowed under the recently passed short-term spending bill as swiftly as possible.  

“LIHEAP is a lifeline for thousands of families across Massachusetts and our country. As temperatures begin to fall, I applaud the Obama administration’s decision to release these vital LIHEAP funds to assist vulnerable low-income families in Massachusetts, especially the elderly, disabled, and veterans,” said Senator Markey. “With high energy prices predicted for New England this winter, I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to provide full funding to this critical program that ensures our nation’s poorest citizens are not left out the cold.”

HHS announced today that it will make $3.05 billion available in heating assistance -- 90 percent of the funding available under the short term spending bill -- which includes $131,897,023 for Massachusetts. 

While the Department of Energy is forecasting that heating costs for consumers in the Northeast this winter will decline from last year, costs are projected to still be significantly higher than a few years ago. In the Northeast, the Department of Energy is forecasting that consumers heating with natural gas will spend $949 this winter, compared with $812 three years ago. Families using heating oil are projected to spend nearly $2,000 this winter, compared with $1,757 three years ago. Heating with propane in the Northeast is expected to cost $300 more than three years ago and heating costs for families using electricity have also risen over that time. 

Throughout his service in Congress, Senator Markey has been a staunch advocate for LIHEAP and is author of the law that established the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.