The Opportunity Alliance building in South Portland

A federal emergency supplemental funding package was passed by Congress which contains $1 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The funding will provide $8 million to Maine to assist with the cost of heating homes for the coming winter.

With 60 percent of Maine homes relying on oil for heat, the state is especially vulnerable to the changes of the global energy market. LIHEAP serves to help offset the rising costs for Maine residents.

The funding will benefit local communities in Maine. “We’re pleased to learn about the additional LIHEAP funds coming to Maine,” said South Portland Social Services Director Kristen Barth. “The city of South Portland sometimes refers residents in need of assistance to LIHEAP for support with home heating costs. With the cold weather approaching, the additional funding comes at a great time.”

The Opportunity Alliance, a network of Maine-serving social services, includes a Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) for Cumberland County. The program serves to assist eligible homeowners and renters pay for heating expenses. For homes heated with oil, kerosene, wood, propane, natural gas, electricity, and other fuels, HEAP makes an annual payment to heat providers. Renters can also apply to HEAP, regardless of whether heating is included in rental fees.

HEAP assistance and benefits are based on income, household size, and current energy costs. For example, if a household of four makes a total of less than $59,348 per year, they will qualify for HEAP assistance. If a household of two makes under $40,356 total per year, they will also qualify.

More information and guidelines are available online through the HEAP page on the Opportunity Alliance website at


Governor Janet Mills praised the funding. “The Russian invasion of Ukraine has pushed the price of home heating fuels to historic highs,” Mills said. “This additional LIHEAP funding will help to ensure that Maine’s most vulnerable seniors and families can heat their homes this winter.

“I thank Maine’s Congressional Delegation for its advocacy which helped secure this funding. My administration will continue to do everything possible to help Maine people stay warm as the colder months approach.”

According to a press release from the state, “the administration has pushed for LIHEAP funding in the past and worked to assist Maine residents with rising energy costs. Mills wrote to the Biden administration in July to push for further LIHEAP funding. Additionally, the Mills administration returned over 50 percent of Maine’s budget surplus to residents through $850 inflation relief checks, fought a 30 percent electricity rate increase from Central Maine Power and a similar one from Versant power, and provided tax and heating cost relief to many households in the state.

“The Mills administration also signed into law LD 2010 that will make a tiered credit of up to $3,000 available to small businesses in Maine to assist with electricity cost increases. The Mills administration has made a goal of reducing Maine’s reliance on fossil fuels and instead moving towards renewable energy, emissions reductions, and carbon neutrality.”

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