- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts is getting almost $132 million in federal assistance to help low-income residents heat their homes this winter.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the grants through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program on Wednesday. More than $3 billion is being made available overall.

Massachusetts U.S. Sens. Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren were among a bi-partisan group of 45 senators who signed a letter urging the Obama administration to release the funds.

The Energy Department forecasts lower heating costs in the Northeast this winter compared to last winter, but costs are projected to be higher than a few years ago. The department predicts that in the region this winter, consumers heating with natural gas will spend $949 while families heating with oil will spend nearly $2,000.

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