Hundreds of Millions More Coming to Assist Low-Income Americans Pay Utility Bills
$250 million in additional funding will soon be added to America’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. This potential benefit for Entergy customers reflects a multi-year campaign by Entergy employees and advocacy partners to convince Congress to save, sustain and better fund the program.
The campaign includes annual visits with members of Congress as part of LIHEAP Action Days in Washington, D.C., an initiative Entergy has supported through participation and promotion since 2007.
LIHEAP is a critical service that helps low-income households afford heating and cooling costs. The program is literally a lifesaver for many, as increasingly severe temperatures threaten the health and welfare of the approximately 25 percent of Entergy customers who live in poverty.
Last year almost 220,000 Entergy bills were paid with LIHEAP funds. Another 13,000 bills were paid through the company’s assistance fund, The Power to Care.
Shannon Thomas – a U.S. Army veteran from Mississippi and LIHEAP recipient – participated with advocates in meetings with Members of Congress and their staffs. He described overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and recognizing the opportunity LIHEAP provided, which helped him stay in school to begin a new career. Shannon also shares his compelling story here:
LIHEAP’s additional funding represents a 7 percent increase for the program, the largest increase since 2009. It also represents a significant accomplishment by Entergy and other advocates, as the program was proposed for elimination this year and last. In addition, Entergy and its partners played a critical role in helping change the LIHEAP funding formula. Now more money will be available to residents in warm-weather and high-energy-burden states than previously distributed. The states served by Entergy’s utility companies – Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas – are likely to receive significant increases.
ARKANSAS: Entergy Arkansas representatives and customer advocates met with Senator John Boozman on LIHEAP Action Day in Washington, D.C., to encourage support for LIHEAP. Currently, only 25 percent of eligible Arkansas customers are able to receive LIHEAP assistance because of depleted funding.
LOUISIANA: Participants in LIHEAP Action Day in Washington, D.C., included (from left) Kristin Masoner, senior customer service specialist, Entergy Louisiana; Wallace Sibley, Quad Area Community Action Partnership; Rosie Brown, East Carrol Community Action Partnership; Demetric Mercadel, senior customer service specialist, Entergy New Orleans; U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy; and Patty Riddlebarger, corporate social responsibility director, Entergy.
MISSISSIPPI: Entergy Mississippi and Atmos Energy representatives and customer advocates met with Rep. Gregg Harper on LIHEAP Action Day in Washington, D.C., to encourage support for LIHEAP. Currently, only 12 percent of eligible Mississippi customers are able to receive LIHEAP assistance because of depleted funding.
|TEXAS: Participants in LIHEAP Action Day in Washington, D.C. included (from left) Ben Portis, director of federal governmental affairs, Entergy; Ryland Ramos, senior analyst, regulatory and public affairs, Entergy Texas; Ben Couhig, legislative director for Rep. Brian Babin; and Liz Brister, corporate social responsibility manager, Entergy. |
Manager, Low Income Initiatives