The Bulletin Board

Governor says fewer people than expected have applied for energy assistance program

By: - December 9, 2022 5:57 pm

Gov. Chris Sununu said this week that the state is seeing less interest in the fuel assistance program than expected considering the “incredibly high rates.” (Annmarie Timmins | New Hampshire Bulletin)

Gov. Chris Sununu said Wednesday that a lot of money remains in an energy assistance program and that the state is seeing less uptake than expected given high energy costs this winter for both home heat and power.

“There’s a lot of money available,” Sununu said at a press event. The Legislature allocated $42 million to an emergency energy assistance program in September. “We’re still seeing less of an uptake of that opportunity than we would have anticipated given the incredibly high rates.”

The state’s fuel assistance program has received 28,309 applications for assistance so far this year, according to Chris Ellms at the Department of Energy. That’s almost double the number of people who had applied this time last year, but Ellms said the program opened one month earlier this year to give people more time to apply.

Mild temperatures could play a role in how many applications the state is receiving. “There tends to be greater interest in the program as the weather becomes colder, and we anticipate more applicants as we move into winter,” Ellms said in an email.

The state started advertising its emergency fuel and electric assistance programs the week of Nov. 21 by radio, according to Ellms. A digital advertising campaign is scheduled to begin next week.

Digital and radio advertising for the electric assistance program began in July. And Ellms said electric companies promoted the new emergency assistance programs in their October bills.

The emergency fuel and electricity assistance program expanded eligibility to include residents who earn between 60 and 75 percent of the state median income. For an individual, 75 percent of the median income is $48,711; for a family of four it is $93,676.

Residents can apply through their local community action program.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee reported on energy and environment for New Hampshire Bulletin. She also previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.