CRANSTON, RI Similar to a grant given during the summer of 2020, the Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS) will give a one-time, $400 supplemental electricity grant to our Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) customers who were given heating grants this past heating season (October 1, 2020-May 28, 2021).
Due to health concerns and quarantining, the pandemic may continue to keep many Rhode Islanders in their homes during the hottest weeks of the summer this year. It is unclear at this time if most public cooling sites will be open this summer so many people may need to continue to spend more time in their homes or apartments. This additional time spent at home will likely increase their electricity costs or possibly prevent them from using an air conditioner or fan for fear of rising electricity bills that they cannot pay. This is particularly true for people living on fixed incomes, often households with an older adult or disabled member.
Additionally, many households have members experiencing unemployment, resulting in increased electricity bills from spending more time at home and decreased ability to pay for electric. This means that many people may have accumulated utility arrearages and if their electricity service were to be terminated, it would endanger their ability to cool their homes.
The grant will assist households by giving them the option to keep their home at a healthy temperature without building up utility arrearages, and therefore reducing the chance of a utility shut off.
Using federal CARES Act dollars that are earmarked for LIHEAP, these grants to about 24,000 households are another measure advocated for by DHS and others to further help Rhode Islanders.
LIHEAP customers do not need to apply. The grants, $400 per household, will be processed from May 2021 through August of 2021 by the Community Action Program (CAP) Agencies that help DHS administer LIHEAP and worked with the families for their heating assistance. Once processed, the CAP agencies will notify eligible homeowners by letter and it will say the grant will be credited to the household's electric utility account through National Grid and Pascoag Utility.
Please note the credit for the grant may not appear on the utility statement of the household for several months.