Federal funding for Colorado households in need of heating assistance this winter has more than doubled as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act.

The Colorado Low-Income Energy Assistance Program, accepting applications until April 30, pays a portion of heating bills for eligible households during the winter. This year, President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan added $71.8 million to Colorado’s usual allocation of $53.8 million for the program, bringing this season’s total LEAP funding to $125.6 million.

“I’m grateful that our state will receive a record amount of funding to help Coloradans cover energy costs this cold winter,” Sen. Michael Bennet said in a news release. “No family should have to worry about how they’re going to heat their home – especially amid a pandemic.”

The additional funding comes amid higher fuel costs and a prediction by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of a slightly colder winter this year than last year. Federal officials estimate households will spend 54% more on propane, a fuel used by some rural households in Southwest Colorado; 30% more on natural gas; and 6% more on electric heating.

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