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Hawaii to receive $3.6M to help working families lower energy costs

The state of Hawaii is slated to receive more than $3.6 million in federal funding to help lower-income households increase energy efficiency in their homes, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono announced, thanks to the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law last year.

The Weatherization Assistance Program provides grants to low-income households to make improvements, such as installing solar water heaters, upgrading cooling systems, replacing inefficient appliances and repairing windows and doors, among others, to increase energy efficiency.

A rise in Hawaii’s energy prices is expected to continue due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which continues to drive up the international cost of oil, Hirono’s office said.

“With the highest energy costs of any state in the country, it has always been a real financial burden for families with low incomes in Hawaii to keep their homes comfortable and safe,” said Hirono in a news release. “Given our reliance on oil for power, these costs are only continuing to rise, making it that much harder for families to pay their utility bills. Thanks to the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, some much-needed relief is on the way.”

The grants will help working families lower their energy costs while also reducing carbon emissions, a goal Hirono said she is committed to.

Low-income households carry a larger burden for energy costs and spend an estimated 13.9% of their annual income on energy compared to 3% for other households, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Households receiving support from the Weatherization Assistance Program save an average of $283 in annual energy costs.

The grants will be administered by various agencies at the county level and overseen by the Hawaii Office of Community Services. To learn more, visit labor.hawaii.gov/ocs, then click on “Programs” and “Weatherization Assistance Program.”

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