Due to passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, the Northern Mariana Islands has received a record $495,909 for LIHEAP, or the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, that is available this fiscal year.
As part of a state-by-state breakdown of funding, the Boden-Harris administration reported that in addition to an annual appropriation of $212,305 for the Northern Mariana Islands, the territory received an additional $283,604 in funds from the American Rescue Plan—more than double the territory’s typical annual funding.
The total of $495,909 is the highest amount the Northern Mariana Islands has ever received in LIHEAP to help Americans struggling with home energy costs.
According to a White House press release last Friday, this funding will help states, localities and tribes address home energy costs this winter. The Administration announced that a total of 14 major utility companies have made commitments to prevent shutting off utilities for Americans applying for aid and expedite assistance, with seven new commitments building on commitments made last November.
• The American Rescue Plan more than doubled LIHEAP funding: In 2021, the Biden-Harris administration and Congressional Democrats delivered $8 billion in LIHEAP funding nationally, more than doubling typical annual appropriations, thanks to an additional $4.5 billion provided by the American Rescue Plan. These funds represent the largest appropriation in a single year since the program was established in 1981. These resources are already allowing states across the country to provide more home energy relief to low income Americans than ever before.
• The American Rescue Plan provided additional historic resources for utility relief including the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and State & Local Fiscal Recovery Fund: The American Rescue Plan provided other critical resources that states and localities can use to address home energy costs. ERA programs, which received an additional $21.5 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan, can provide help with past-due utility bills or ongoing assistance with energy costs to help distressed renters avoid shut-offs and keep current on expenses. State & Local Fiscal Recovery Funds can also be deployed to help deliver energy relief to families.
The administration has taken action to ensure that these historic resources are distributed swiftly and equitably this winter:
Encouraged states to plan early: In November, the White House called on states, localities, and tribes to plan early to distribute American Rescue Plan funds to address home energy costs this winter. (PR)
Secured commitments from utilities to avoid shut-offs and expedite aid: The White House called on utility companies to prevent devastating utility shut-offs and help expedite the delivery of unprecedented federal aid. Today, the White House is announcing that it is welcoming commitments from seven major utility companies across the country, including Atlantic City Electric, Baltimore Gas and Electric, ComEd, Delmarva Power, Pacific Gas & Electric, PECO and Pepco. These commitments join the initial commitments the White House secured in November from seven major utility companies including DTE Energy, Eversource, Green Mountain Power, National Grid, NorthWestern Energy, Portland General Electric and Vermont Gas, as well as the delivered fuel trade association NEFI.
Called for coordination of LIHEAP and Emergency Rental Assistance relief to families: To maximize the impact of home heating assistance, the White House called for states, localities, and tribes to coordinate across programs including LIHEAP and ERA. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Treasury Department have issued guidance and co-hosted webinars on LIHEAP and ERA best practices that have attracted over 500 administrators—collectively representing 47 states, the District of Columbia, and 72 tribal governments. More than 50% of these administrators now report they are coordinating across these programs. (PR)