Edison Electric Institute President Thomas R. Kuhn today joined with other electric and natural gas utility company executives in calling on Congress to fully fund the nation’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), citing the nation’s fragile economy and the continuing need for both heating and cooling assistance for electricity customers.
“With unemployment still high and the economic recovery moving slowly, we urge Congress to keep LIHEAP fully funded for the coming year so that all Americans get the electricity they need,” Kuhn said. “Now is not the time to cut energy assistance to those who need it most.”
Kuhn made the comments on the occasion of the 8th Annual LIHEAP Action Day on Capitol Hill. LIHEAP Action Day participants, including EEI and the nation’s investor-owned electric utilities, are stressing the need for energy assistance as the fiscal-year 2011 budget request for LIHEAP, at $3.3 billion, is drastically lower than the $5.1 billion appropriated for fiscal-year 2010.
“Only one in five eligible households is getting LIHEAP assistance today, which means thousands of struggling American families are not accessing the critical short-term help that LIHEAP provides,” Kuhn said.
Since its inception in 1981, LIHEAP has served as the primary federal program providing energy assistance to low-income and vulnerable households, including senior citizens and disabled veterans, through local community action agencies that oftentimes partner with utilities to ensure assistance is provided where it is needed most.
LIHEAP Action Day participants include representatives from consumer advocacy groups, fuel funds and other non-profits, electric and gas utility companies, and local, state, and Tribal governments. For more information about LIHEAP, go to http://www.liheap.org