PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

April 9, 2013

Entergy lobbies for federal energy assistance program

BEAUMONT — 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.

Entergy's low-income advocates are urging congressional leaders to better protect vulnerable families struggling to meet basic needs, including heating and cooling costs.

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 up to $328 million in assistance for Texas families.  “We recognize that Congress is facing some tough fiscal decisions,” said Vernon Pierce, customer service director, Entergy Texas, Inc.  “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,” Pierce said, “better funding of LIHEAP is crucial.”

Texas residents can help by adding their names to a petition being sent to Washington through supportliheap.org.

Participating in LIHEAP Action Day is just one of the many steps Entergy takes on behalf of needy customers.  Entergy Texas employees, shareholders and customers contribute more than $2.2 million to The Power to Care fund, where every penny raised goes toward helping neighbors struggling to pay utility bills.

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