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."
Participating in LIHEAP Action Day is just one of the many steps Entergy takes on behalf of needy customers. Entergy 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.
"As Entergy Corporation celebrates its 100th birthday, we are mindful that our future depends on the health and vitality of the communities we serve," said Riddlebarger. "Supporting LIHEAP upholds our legacy and commitment to serving all customers, including those in need."
Entergy Corporation, which celebrates its 100th birthday this year, is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including more than 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation's leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $10 billion and approximately 15,000 employees.
SOURCE Entergy Corporation