November 15, 2012 -- The Vermont Emergency board last month unanimously approved $8.8 million in state funds to supplement the Vermont LIHEAP this winter.
It's the second year in a row the state has added money to LIHEAP and the amount is a 44 percent increase from the $6.1 million the state provided last year. It comes out of funds the legislature allocated to cover reductions in the federal budget. The board's action stemmed from a request by Gov. Peter Shumlin earlier in October.
Shumlin said the amount was necessary to keep up with the program's growing demand, while also holding the average household benefit at $900. Without the infusion of state funds, the LIHEAP benefit would have been cut by 40 percent.
He added that other cold weather states are not seeking LIHEAP supplemental funds because they have a cheaper fuel option, natural gas, whereas Vermont relies mostly on deliverable fuels such as heating oil, kerosene and wood.