Category Archives: LIHEAP

Lisa Dundon AGA Members Unveil LIHEAP Trolley Tour in Western PA

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.

Parnters for Warmth AGA Members Unveil LIHEAP Trolley Tour in Western PAThe “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.

Posted in LIHEAP, utility, winter heating | Comments Off

Christina Nyquist Advocates Descend on Capitol Hill for Summer LIHEAP Action Day

Citizens from across our nation descended on Capitol Hill yesterday with a clear message for lawmakers: for millions of American households struggling to pay their energy bills, a fully-funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is as critical in the dog days of summer as it is in the frigid winter months.

“Record numbers of our fellow citizens have suffered this summer,” said Marsha Belcher, of the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County (CEDA), and chair of the National Fuel Funds Network (NFFN) Board of Directors. 2012 has seen an unprecedented number of heat-related deaths in the United States. “We are here because we want to help those families afford the energy they need to stay cool.”

After gathering at the headquarters of the American Gas Association, 65 LIHEAP advocates met with Congressional members and their staff from approximately 100 offices for almost seven hours to present their case and discuss why, even in tight budget times, energy assistance is for our nation’s most vulnerable and it must not be sacrificed. AGA joins these advocates in the belief that Congress should appropriate at least $5.1 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 for LIHEAP funding.

Audience4 400x300 Advocates Descend on Capitol Hill for Summer LIHEAP Action Day

LIHEAP Action Day participants prepare to meet with Congress at AGA headquarters on Tuesday morning.

LIHEAP helps those who truly need the assistance. Here are the facts:

  • About 75 percent of LIHEAP households earn less than $15,000 a year.
  • 50 percent earn less than $10,000.
  • Almost all recipient households support someone who is disabled, elderly, or have a child under 6.
  • More than 40 percent of recipients are seniors living on fixed incomes.
  • 20 percent of LIHEAP recipients are veterans.

Patty Riddlebarger, of Entergy Corporation, said speaking with policymakers and telling themabout the people behind the LIHEAP numbers was “a positively inspirational experience.”

“Hearing the stories about the struggles of families in need and their courage in the face of hardships we can only imagine makes all the difference in helping our elected officials understand the significant impact that their support for LIHEAP can have on our neighbors in need,” she said.

LIHEAP is an effective, life-saving program. When LIHEAP was funded at its highest level in FY09 and FY10, that $5.1 billion helped about 8.9 million households, or about 23 million people. Still, that only assisted one out of five eligible Americans.

Now, the need for LIHEAP is greater than ever. Poverty and unemployment are at historic levels, increasing the number of households eligible for assistance. The number of veteran households seeking LIHEAP aid has jumped 150 percent since FY08. For more than half of America’s households, energy bills account for more than 20 percent of their budget. For those making less than $10,000 a year, energy costs eat up over 75 percent of their income. These homes must make tough choices, possibly sacrificing other needs in order to pay their utility bills.

Congress is proposing $3.47 billion and the Administration is proposing just $3.02 billion for FY13 for this crucial life-saving program. All in attendance agreed that these proposals fall woefully short of what is needed.

The day culminated with a presentation of the NFFN Extra Mile award to Congressman Gene Green of Texas. The award recognizes those who demonstrate exemplary leadership and strong support for increased LIHEAP funding by taking extra steps to speak out in a congressional committee or on the House floor, securing legislation, generating media coverage, or more.

genegreen2 e1343851424318 Advocates Descend on Capitol Hill for Summer LIHEAP Action Day

Marsha Belcher of CEDA and chair of the NFFN Board of Directors and Kim Campbell of TXU Energy stand with Texas Congressman Gene Green as he receives the NFFN Extra Mile Award. Photo credit: Ed Rissing, Coalition for Affordable Energy for All

AGA was proud to provide a “home away from home” for these advocates as they continue the fight  for this important program.

Posted in energy, LIHEAP, people, safety, winter heating | 1 Comment

Lisa Dundon Summer LIHEAP Action Day Heats Up This Tuesday

As the country continues to experience sweltering summer temperatures, now is the perfect time to raise awareness for the need for increased funding of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (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.

This Tuesday, July 31, the American Gas Association (AGA) along with the National Fuel Funds Network (NFFN) and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), will host the third annual Summer LIHEAP Action Day to drive awareness on Capitol Hill about this life-saving program.

LIHEAP advocates and recipients from across the United States will come together to lobby Congress to provide at least $5.1 billion for LIHEAP for FY 2013. In February, President Obama asked Congress for just $3 billion, down from $3.3 billion in FY 2012 and $5.1 billion in both FY 2010 and FY 2009.

With the current state of the economy, the number of Americans who can longer afford to heat and cool their homes continues to rise. Cuts to LIHEAP funding each fiscal year are making it even harder to help those in desperate need of support.

AGA will provide coverage of this Tuesday’s Summer LIHEAP Action Day across our various social media pages. Click on the links below to follow along:

Facebook | Twitter | Blog

Posted in LIHEAP, people, safety | 6 Comments