Here are some tidbits and stats I pulled from another article from Ben Rooney called Winter heat crisis looms, little relief seen. This is some scary information for the economy…
- The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally
funded program that gives money to states to help low-income
households, the elderly and the disabled cope with the financial strain
of high heating bills.
- This year, however, the program could be squeezed by a projected 20%
average increase in heating bills nationwide and an influx of people
applying for assistance due to sour economic conditions, high gas
prices and a weak labor market.
- “Anything over $2.50 a gallon for low-income family is a budget
buster,” said Richard Moffi, who manages Vermont’s LIHEAP program.
- Heating oil prices are expected to reach $4.34 a gallon nationwide this
winter, according to estimates from the Energy Information
- … many low-income families are still behind on payments for last year’s heating bills.
- The National Energy Assistance Director’s Association (NEADA) recently
reported that more than 15 million households are currently facing
utility shutoffs because they can not pay their energy bill.
- Mark Wolfe, executive director of the NEADA, said that low-income
energy assistance programs usually focus on families that make roughly
$31,000 a year. Now, more middle-class families, including those that
earn up to $50,000 a year, could be in need of assistance, he added.
- A recent survey by the NEADA showed that 70% of low-income households
said they reduced spending on food as a result of high energy and gas
- That was followed by 31% that said they have cut back on purchases of medicine
- 19% that curtailed spending on education.
- LIHEAP’s budget for fiscal year 2008, which ends in September, was
almost $2.57 billion in federal dollars. For fiscal year 2009,
President Bush has issued a budget request of $2 billion for the
program, which is a decrease of 22%.
- The question is: Will Washington act in time to make a meaningful difference? “The government is better when disaster strikes,” Wolfe said. “It’s not as good when we say the disaster is coming.”
Here are some other posts of mine regarding Heating Oil