A blower door test is one of the many diagnostic features employed by our program to ensure the highest energy savings possible for those we serve.

Monday, April 30, 2007

LIHEAP Programs Run Out of Funds as Winter Heating Moratoriums Expire

The following 23 states and the District of Columbia are no longer taking applications for energy assistance because they have run out funds as a result of the cutback in federal program funding: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides heating and cooling assistance to more than 5.7 million households annually. Federal funding was increased from $2.1 billion in FY 2005 to $3.2 billion in FY 2006 as a result of rising numbers of households seeking assistance and continuing high energy prices. The FY 07 Continuing Resolution reduced funding to $2.1 billion, resulting in states cutting grant levels, eliminating crisis assistance and closing programs to new applicants. Grants have been reduced on average from $454 to $314. As a share of home heating costs, the average grant has declined 31.3% to 22.6% for heating oil, 47.4% to 38.3% for natural gas, 35% to 25.3% for propane and 57.3% to 37.8% for electricity. This is because the decline in energy prices has not offset the impact of the proposed reduction in program appropriations.

The Supplemental Emergency Spending bill contains $400 million in additional FY 07 funding for LIHEAP and the President has $220 million in emergency spending authority. If these funds were made available, states would be able to continue serving households who are struggling with high arrearages as a result of high prices as well as provide adequate funding this summer to address cooling needs.

-Mark Wolfe, National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association: mlwolfe@neada.org

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