7 major utilities join nonstop pledge under new U.S. aid package

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Seven other large utility companies have pledged not to interrupt service for clients seeking assistance and to identify and notify eligible recipients of government assistance. The Biden administration on Friday announced the new pledges along with an initiative to distribute an additional $ 4.5 billion through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help Americans pay heating during the second winter of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Electricity and natural gas prices are about 11% higher than a year ago, according to the Ministry of Labor’s consumer price index. Meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration reported that home heating oil prices are 40% higher than a year ago.

Atlantic City Electric, Baltimore Gas and Electric, ComEd, Delmarva Power, Pacific Gas & Electric, PECO and Pepco are the seven new companies that have joined the nonstop pledge, according to the White House announcement. The administration had already received pledges in November from other utilities DTE Energy, Eversource, Green Mountain Power, National Grid, NorthWestern Energy, Portland General Electric and Vermont Gas, as well as the trade association NEFI.

As for LIHEAP funding, colder states will receive larger shares, according to a breakdown included in the White House announcement.

“These resources are already enabling states across the country to provide more home energy assistance to low-income Americans than ever before,” the White House said.

Seven other large utility companies have pledged not to interrupt service for customers seeking help and to identify and notify eligible recipients of government assistance, the Biden administration said on Friday. Above, President Joe Biden delivers remarks in the Statues Hall of the United States Capitol on January 6 in Washington, DC
Greg Nash / Pool / Getty Images

The increase in funding – which is part of the coronavirus relief program of last year’s $ 1.9 trillion US bailout – has more than doubled LIHEAP’s normal funding level. These funds represent the largest credit in a single year since the inception of the program in 1981.

The Associated Press obtained a pre-copy of the state’s allocation breakdown, which shows a clear prioritization of cold states with higher heating costs. For example, Minnesota received nearly $ 274 million in home energy assistance for needy residents. Meanwhile, Texas, which has a population five times the size, received just $ 10 million more. New York, with a population of less than 20 million compared to Texas’s 29 million, received just under $ 876 million.

The aid is intended to help cushion the shock of higher energy costs in winter. But Republican lawmakers have said the comprehensive relief plan, which was enacted by the Democratic president in March, caused higher levels of inflation by pumping too much money into the economy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Cold weather in the United States
The Biden administration announced on Friday that an additional $ 4.5 billion would be distributed through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help Americans pay for heating during the second winter of the COVID-19 pandemic . Above, people walk in the snow during the first snowstorm of the season on January 7 in New York City.
Angela Weiss / AFP via Getty Images
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