Category Archives: energy

Lisa Dundon LIHEAP Advocates Make Push For Greater Funding on Capitol Hill

More than 150 advocates from around the country descended upon Capitol Hill Wednesday in support of responsible funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC) sponsored LIHEAP Action Day 2014 along with member companies of the American Gas Association (AGA) and the Edison Electric Institute. The day-long event is aimed at building awareness for LIHEAP. The federal block grant program provides financial assistance to low and fixed-income individuals for fuel and utility bills, as well as low-cost weatherization and energy-related home repairs.

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Representatives from Entergy meet with Rep. Bill Flores (TX-17) to discuss LIHEAP funding. Photo Credit: Entergy

Dozens of LIHEAP advocates met with members of Congress and their staff, and took to social media advocating for $4.7 billion in LIHEAP funding for FY2015. You can share your thoughts about the importance of LIHEAP by using the hashtag #LIHEAPAction.

After many years of underfunding LIHEAP, Congress funded the program at $5.1 billion in FY2009 and FY2010. Since then, funding has been cut drastically from $4.7 billion in FY2011 to less than $3.4 billion for the current fiscal year. President Barack Obama’s 2015 budget request is for $2.8 billion. These funding cuts have resulted in smaller assistance grants and fewer households served, severely limiting the program’s effectiveness.

This winter’s record breaking cold temperatures have been a stark reminder of why the LIHEAP program is so critical. Here are just a few other reasons:

  • According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, more than 46 million people live in poverty – the largest number in the 52-year history of published poverty estimates.
  • Even with LIHEAP funding at $5.1 billion, the amount was only enough to assist 1 in 5 eligible Americans.
  • The average low- and fixed-income family spends 13.5 percent of its annual household income on energy – almost twice the 7.2 percent spent by the average U.S. household.
  •  LIHEAP supports veterans and seniors. The number of veteran households served by LIHEAP increased by more than 150 percent over three years. Roughly 40 percent of LIHEAP recipients are seniors.
  • Roughly 75 percent of households receiving assistance earn less than $15,000 a year and 50 percent earn less than $10,000 a year.
  • Almost all recipient households support someone who is disabled, elderly, or have a child under six.
  • Home energy insecurity can lead to diminished child health, home fires and deaths, choices of “heat or eat” and homelessness.
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NEUAC’s John Rich presents U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski with the Extra Mile award. Photo Credit: NEUAC

LIHEAP Action Day concluded with a Congressional reception and the presentation of the NEUAC Extra Mile award given to U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), recognizing for her longtime support of the program.

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Chris McGill Natural Gas Market Indicators: March 14, 2014

While it may not feel like it, the winter heating season is technically approaching its close.

Even with short-term local daily cash price peaks, natural gas futures have remained remarkably stable, generally in the $4.25 to $4.75 per MMBtu range going as far out as 2017. This reflects confidence in the ability of domestic production to meet weather-induced and growing institutional demand for natural gas in the industrial, power generation and weather sensitive small volume customer sectors.

These observations continue to support the takeaway from the Natural Gas Market Indicators publication two weeks ago which stated that the nation’s natural gas supply portfolio has handled persistent cold and major weather events very well this winter heating season.

Visit this link to download the full Natural Gas Market Indicators report. Topics covered in this week’s report include: Reported Prices, Weather, Working Gas in Underground Storage, Natural Gas Production, Shale Gas, Rig Counts, Pipeline Imports and Exports, and LNG Markets.

Please direct questions and comments to Chris McGill at cmcgill@aga.org or Richard Meyer at rmeyer@aga.org.

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Chris McGill Natural Gas Market Indicators: February 28, 2014

Natural gas March futures closed at $6.09 per MMBtu on February 19 and went even higher afterwards before falling once again. This could seem like a dramatic rise and psychological threshold for natural gas prices, but there are some important facts to keep in mind for context. First, it has been a very cold winter with persistent low temperatures. Records for highest month, week and day for total natural gas consumption were in January.

This January also saw the highest winter-month electricity load, ever. For its part, natural gas volumes to power generation for a January were the highest ever recorded, also. February natural gas demand is 8.6 percent above last year while storage volumes are 35 percent below the five-year average. With that said, winter price movements have been muted compared to history when similar piled-on events have occurred. What then is our takeaway? That the nation’s natural gas supply portfolio, so far, has handled persistent cold and major weather events very well.

Visit this link to download the full Natural Gas Market Indicators report. Topics covered in this week’s report include: Reported Prices, Weather, Working Gas in Underground Storage, Natural Gas Production, Shale Gas, Rig Counts, Pipeline Imports and Exports, and LNG Markets.

Please direct questions and comments to Chris McGill at cmcgill@aga.org or Richard Meyer at rmeyer@aga.org.

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Christina Nyquist Watch: Natural Gas Utilities In Your Community

By safely and reliably delivering energy to fuel the daily needs of customers throughout the U.S., local natural gas utilities are essential members of the communities they serve. But many companies go beyond the daily business of providing natural gas – whether by supporting local charities and community projects, fostering sustainability and helping improve their local environment, or through countless other contributions that enhance the quality of life where they live and work. Two AGA member companies have created videos that demonstrate the vital role they play in their customers’ lives and the ways they contribute to their communities.

CPS Energy, based in San Antonio, Texas, runs an annual fundraising campaign to support the United Way. Employee contributions to the CPS Energy United Way Campaign fund several local charities including the Girl Scouts of Texas, Respite Care of San Antonio and City Year. During 2013, CPS Energy employees and retirees raised over $982,000 for the United Way Campaign through donations, agency events and sponsorships. Employees also logged 11,000 community service hours in 2013.

National Grid, which serves New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachussetts has a robust Corporate Responsibility strategy to help ensure that the company meets its communities’ needs today and into the future. Their video “Making connections: creating shared value,” highlights some of the local initiatives National Grid supports including City Year, Girls Inc., environmental and Earth Day projects and more.

Check out the Boston College Carroll School of Management Center for Corporate Citizenship’s Annual Film Festival to vote for your favorite video. Today is the last day to vote though, so act fast!

 

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