Sen. Gillibrand looking to expand access to Home Energy Assistance Program

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — After we got slammed by that winter blast earlier this week many Rochesterians are preparing for higher utility bills.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) has a plan to keep New Yorkers warm.

The Heating and Cooling Relief Act would invest $40 billion in expanding access to the low-income Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).

The legislation would also expand eligibility so enrolled families would not spend more than 3% of their annual income on energy costs.

Gillibrand said more than $1.2 million families owe about $1.7 billion in late energy payments.

"This is just one way to create transparency to make sure that people have enough heat in their home," Gillibrand said.

The legislation would also commit to weatherizing homes in New York.

As part of this plan, low-income housing would be outfitted with heat sensors—this is in response to the recent deadly fire caused by a space heater in the Bronx.