Wisconsin residents can now begin applying for home heating assistance, though state officials are expecting less money to be available in the program.
The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program served nearly 225,000 homes last year, distributing $108 million in assistance. This year, the state only expects to get $92 million from the federal government for the program, meaning the average payment to homes will be around $267 as opposed to last year’s average payment of $302.
Department of Administration Spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis, however, said those are just estimates, and that once the federal government passes its budget those numbers may increase.
“Typically that goes up a little bit higher as the heating season goes on and the federal fiscal estimates are put together at the federal level — they sometimes release some more to states,” said Marquis.
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Marquis said last winter’s propane shortage drove much of heating assistance demand, but she said she’s optimistic about this year.
“We have more propane supply on both the wholesaler and supplier side, as well as we have more people aware of last season and have actually gone ahead and begun to fill up their propane tanks as well,” said Marquis.
Wisconsin’s Home Energy Assistance Program takes applications from October 1 through May 15.