by Amanda Gokee, New Hampshire Bulletin
This article and headline were updated at 11:10 a.m. on Nov. 3, 2022, to correct the amount of fuel assistance New Hampshire is receiving.
New Hampshire will receive nearly $104 million for energy rebates and fuel assistance, according to announcements from the U.S. Department of Energy and the state’s congressional delegation on Wednesday.
Around $70 million will come to the state for home energy rebate programs, with an additional $34 million headed to the state’s fuel assistance program.
The fuel assistance program opened Tuesday, according to Chris Ellms, the deputy commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Energy. The latest numbers show 22,000 New Hampshire households have applied for assistance or scheduled an appointment to apply, Ellms said. That’s around 6,000 more households compared to this time last year, and the state expects the number of applicants to increase as temperatures drop.
The fuel assistance money provides relief this winter, while the rebate program is meant to be a long-term solution, addressing climate change and energy costs. A main part of the rebate program is helping households switch to heat pumps. The Department of Energy said the transition would decrease reliance on fossil fuels and help the U.S. halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
It’s also billing the program as a way for families to save money on energy bills at a time when the cost of home heating and power is skyrocketing. But it doesn’t expect funding to be available until spring 2023, and rebates wouldn’t be offered to the public until later that year.
The rebate programs will be administered by the state. The $70 million is split between two programs: one for energy efficiency home retrofits and another to provide rebates for electric appliances such as heat pumps and electric washing machines and dryers.
As a part of the first program, an individual household could receive a $2,000 to $4,000 rebate for an energy efficiency retrofit, while multifamily buildings could get up to $400,000. In the second program, households could get up to $14,000 in rebates, including up to $8,000 off the cost of a heat pump.
During a press event Wednesday, White House National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi said heat pumps can help households save around $500 a year. Half of the energy costs for a home go to heating and cooling, Zaidi said. Across the country, the $9 billion in funding is enough to help 1.6 million households switch to a heat pump, he said.
This story was written by Amanda Gokee, a reporter at the New Hampshire Bulletin, where this story first appeared.
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