Albany, NY (WIBX) - Funding for New York's EmPower program is being increased.

According to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, $46 million will be available this year to help low-income families become more energy efficient.

This amounts to an $18 million increase from last year.

EmPower New York assists families earning 60 percent or less of the statewide median income with efficiency upgrades, including replacing old appliances with Energy Star qualified models, heating system upgrades and high-efficiency lighting.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, families receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) spend 25 percent of their income on utilities, while median-income homes spend 4 percent.

Since the EmPower New York program began in 2004, it has provided services to 57,000 households across the state. Last year, the program serviced an estimated 9,000 households.

For more information, call 1-800-263-0960 or fill out an application online at www.nyserda.ny.gov.