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AGA

 2/3/2010 

AGA Contacts:
Jennifer O’Shea, 202-824-7023
Jake Rubin, 202-824-7027

 AGA Lauds Rep. Markey for Energy Assistance Bill   

 
   

     Congressman calls for increased funds to help needy Americans pay energy costs

In our industry, we know firsthand that LIHEAP serves as a lifeline for families that can’t make ends meet. An especially cold winter can spell disaster for these hardworking citizens

Washington, DC – The American Gas Association (AGA) today lauded Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) for calling attention to the plight of needy Americans by introducing the “Energy Assistance for American Families Act.”  The bill would increase authorized funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to $7.6 billion per year for fiscal years 2011 to 2014 – an increase of $2.5 billion over current funding. 

“In our industry, we know firsthand that LIHEAP serves as a lifeline for families that can’t make ends meet. An especially cold winter can spell disaster for these hardworking citizens,” said David N. Parker, AGA president and CEO.  “We join Congressman Markey in urging Congress to increase funding for this critical program so that no American feels the bite of winter in his or her own home.”

Even at its current level of $5.1 billion, LIHEAP is significantly underfunded, reaching just a portion of families in need of energy assistance.  And in light of current economic and job insecurity, it is imperative that LIHEAP funding is increased so that as many American families as possible can rely on it to manage monthly energy bills.

Natural gas utilities play a major role in providing more than $2 billion annually in program assistance to needy families.  Many states also supplement LIHEAP with their own fuel assistance programs.   But in spite of these efforts, energy assistance to those in need still falls short.

“Last week, President Obama called for $3.3 billion in LIHEAP funds as part of his 2011 budget,” said Parker. “While we acknowledge the president’s attention to the issue, we can adamantly say that this level of funding is inadequate.   AGA asks that the administration and Congress support Congressman Markey’s proposed funding increase so that fewer Americans are faced with the choice to ‘heat or eat’ next year.”

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The American Gas Association, founded in 1918, represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States. There are more than 71 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., of which 94 percent — over 68 million customers — receive their gas from AGA members. Today, natural gas meets almost one-fourth of the United States' energy needs.

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