Washington, DC – The American Gas Association (AGA) today called on Congress to respond to the crisis in home heating and cooling by fully funding the Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) program. At present funding levels, LIHEAP is currently unable to serve an estimated 85 percent of eligible households. Adding the $3.6 billion Reed-Collins Amendment to the Economic Stimulus package would provide immediate emergency assistance to hundreds of thousands of needy households across the country.
David McClanahan, chairman of the American Gas Association’s board of directors, president and chief executive officer, CenterPoint Energy, told supporters that LIHEAP must be funded to its authorized level of $5.1 billion and $500 million must be provided in contingency authority. "We support Senators Jack Reed (RI) and Susan Collins’ (ME) Amendment to include LIHEAP in the economic stimulus package," he said.
"LIHEAP is a proven program with low administrative costs and the capacity to distribute funds quickly. Increasing funding will immediately get resources out to desperately poor Americans attempting to deal with historically high energy costs and significant economic pressures. Study after study has demonstrated the clear linkage between adequate heating and cooling and public health. Increasing LIHEAP funding is a clear way to respond to the ongoing crisis in the communities we serve."
McClanahan’s comments came at the 6th annual Washington Action Day for LIHEAP, which brought together low-income consumer advocates and energy utilities in an effort to lobby for increased funding for LIHEAP and raise awareness of the lack of adequate funding to help low-income families keep their homes warm.
Enacted by Congress in 1982, LIHEAP provides federal funds to offset the increasingly high costs for low- and fixed-income families on their winter heating bills and summer cooling bills.