AUGUSTA, Maine — More than 30 attorneys general and state consumer advocate agencies are urging Congress to reject plans by President Donald Trump’s administration to eliminate the federal heating assistance program.
The program distributes $3.4 billion to about 6 million low-income households.
The representatives say the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program already has been cut by a third since 2010, and it’s only serving 19 percent of eligible households.
They urge Congress to restore and boost funding so fewer families are “literally left out in the cold.”
Officials who made the request in the letter sent to Congress include Attorney General Janet Mills and Public Advocate Barry Hobbins of Maine; Attorney General T.J. Donovan and Director of Consumer Affairs Carol Flint of Vermont; and Consumer Advocate D. Maurice Kreis of New Hampshire.
In Maine, the poorest state in New England, officials say the program helped about 77,000 people over the past winter, and those numbers represented less than a quarter of eligible households.
In Vermont, this year’s federal block grant of $18.9 million is helping about 20,000 people heat their homes or make renovations so their homes will be more energy efficient.
New Hampshire certified over 30,000 applications for more than $28 million in funds for the current program year, with an average benefit of $622.