Washington, D.C. – The American Gas Association (AGA) today hailed the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) for passing a resolution during its winter meeting urging Congress to provide critical dollars to low-income Americans struggling to heat their homes.
The resolution urges Congress to maintain the current funding of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) by appropriating no less than $5.1 billion dollars for fiscal years (FY) 2011 and 2012, and to provide an advance LIHEAP appropriation for FY2013 of no less than $5.1 billion.
“State utility commissioners know firsthand the dangers of unpaid energy bills,” said Kyle Rogers, AGA’s vice president of public affairs. “They have cautioned that unless funding is increased, America's most vulnerable citizens can easily get behind on their payments, causing undue amounts of stress for their families. We applaud NARUC for being on the front lines of this challenge and are extremely disappointed that the House Appropriations Committee proposed cutting LIHEAP by $400 million in FY2011. We are especially disappointed that the President’s budget goes even further, cutting this critical program almost in half for FY2012.”
“Like AGA’s member companies, public utility commissioners deal directly with consumers. They know the important role LIHEAP plays, and should be commended for passing this important resolution,” Rogers added.
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. Current funding levels only assist one in five eligible Americans in paying their energy bills. The cuts proposed by the House Appropriations Committee and the President would leave millions more Americans vulnerable this winter and summer.