BANGOR, Maine — An estimated 70,000 households are expected to be served by the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program this year, according to a recent fuel assistance update issued by the Maine State Housing Authority.

This year, the state is receiving nearly $57 million in LIHEAP funding, housing authority officials said. The average LIHEAP benefit for this heating season is projected to be $811 per household.

The average cash price for No. 2 heating fuel is at $2.66 per gallon, while the average price for households receiving LIHEAP benefits, however, was about 7 cents less.

So far, the state has received nearly 63,957 applications for LIHEAP, with 53,000 served and about 5,700 still being processed, MaineHousing said in its update.

Another 5,200 applicants have been deemed ineligible.

In addition to LIHEAP funds, the state also has received $1.75 million in emergency fuel funding, more than $1 million of which has been disbursed. The maximum benefit under that program is $400 per household.

LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps low-income households with their home energy bills.

In Maine, LIHEAP pays a portion of an eligible household’s home heating costs. Customers must choose one of several participating fuel suppliers, according to MaineHousing.

Payment usually is made directly to the supplier and is based on household size and income, energy costs, household type and the kind of heating fuel used, as identified at the time of application.

LIHEAP also may be able to provide help with bill payment, energy crisis assistance and weatherization and energy-related home repairs.