Four utility members of the American Gas Association (AGA) located in Western Pennsylvania kicked off the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for the 2012-2012 winter heating season with the announcement of a new outreach program.
The “Partners for Warmth” — comprised of Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Equitable Gas Company, Peoples Natural Gas, and Peoples TWP — officially launched the new LIEHAP Trolley Tour in an effort to spread awareness of available funds. The trolley, powered by clean natural gas, will make stops in Pittsburgh, Homestead, Washington, Aliquippa, Butler and New Kensington and provide assistance in applying for LIHEAP to area residents.
LIHEAP is a block grant program under which the federal government gives states annual funds to operate home energy assistance programs for low-income households that struggle to heat their homes in the winter and cool them during the hot summer months. Each year, AGA joins the National Fuel Funds Network in sponsoring LIHEAP Action Day, a day of activities aimed at building awareness about this life-saving program on Capitol Hill. AGA advocated for at least $5.1 billion in LIHEAP funding for FY2013, but only $3.472 billion was approved.
“Approximately $200 million in LIHEAP funds are available to Pennsylvania residents this winter heating season to stay safe and warm in their homes,” said Equitable Gas President Bill Lucas. “It is vital that individuals and families receive the assistance they need. Therefore, the Partners for Warmth continue our joint LIHEAP promotion efforts to let our customers know help is available. Our ambitious goal is to have every customer who is qualified for a LIHEAP grant apply for a LIHEAP grant between now and March 29, 2013.”
Eligibility guidelines for LIHEAP change, and customers who may not have been eligible in the past are encouraged to reapply. For the 2012-2013 winter heating season, the income eligibility limit is 150% of federal poverty income guidelines. This means a family of four cannot exceed an annual income of $34,575 to be eligible. The minimum grant for the heating season is $100. LIHEAP closes March 29, 2013, or earlier if funds run out.
To learn more about LIHEAP funding and how to apply, visit www.liheap.org.