The Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy (OPAE) is carefully monitoring current federal legislation, including the “Heating and Cooling Relief Act” introduced by U.S. Representatives Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).
According to the National Energy & Utility Affordability Coalition, the bill would propose a variety of critical changes to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), including:
- Authorizing the program at $40 billion per year for the next 10 years
- Emphasizing addressing energy/fuel/utility arrearages
- Considerably expanding eligibility
- Including data sharing and other requirements for utilities
- Expands weatherization through LIHEAP by increasing the percentages of the weatherization transfer as well as permitting distributed solar and community solar to be funded with transferred funds
- Expanding availability of administrative funds
- Supporting self-attestation of income for applicants
- Requiring a minimum wage of $15/hour for LIHEAP Coordinators
- Establishing “Just Energy Transition Grants” promoting the transition away from fossil fuel energy
OPAE will be evaluating this legislation and passing on its thoughts to Ohio’s Congressional delegation.