NEW ORLEANS, April 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program serves a vital, life-saving role by helping needy customers afford to keep their homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer. But funding of the federal program has dropped by more than a third from its 2009 level of $5.1 billion to $3.3 billion today. Low-income advocates from Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR) are urging congressional leaders to better protect vulnerable families struggling to meet basic needs, including heating and cooling costs.
In 2012 within the four states Entergy serves, an estimated 385,000 families received assistance from LIHEAP. More than 3.5 million households qualify for the program.
During LIHEAP Action Day April 10, Entergy representatives and community partners will be working hard to get LIHEAP funding --and the families who need this program-- turned around. Personal meetings with congressional delegates, grassroots email campaigns and active partnerships with the National Fuel Fund Network, other organizations and utilities are all part of this effort.The goal is to restore LIHEAP funding to at least $4.7 billion for 2014. The increase would result in as much as $479 million in assistance for families in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. "We recognize that Congress is facing some tough fiscal decisions," said Patty Riddlebarger, director of corporate social responsibility for Entergy. "However, this program and the low income population it serves have already borne significant cuts. "At a time when poverty has increased, median household incomes and savings have decreased, and thousands of new record temperatures are being set in both summer and winter," she said, "better funding of LIHEAP is crucial."