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The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming addressed our nation's energy, economic and national security challenges during the 110th and 111th Congresses.

This is an archived version of the committee's website, where the public, students and the media can continue to access and learn from our work.

Markey Introduces Increase in Low-Income Energy Assistance

Crisis Approaches as Heating Oil Prices, Demand for Help Both Increase

A perfect storm of economic hardship, rising heating oil prices, and increased demand for home energy assistance could result in a serious home energy crisis for millions of Americans this year and beyond. In response to this looming threat, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today introduced legislation that would increase the level of funding for and expand availability to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, creating a vital safety net for millions of Americans.

“Our economy may finally be heating up, but the effects of a recession, periods of cold weather and rising energy prices are still having a chilling effect on millions of American families,” said Rep. Markey, chair of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and the Energy and Environment Subcommittee in the Energy and Commerce Committee. “Expanding LIHEAP’s funding and availability is absolutely vital.”

The bill, the Energy Assistance for American Families Act, would increase the authorized funding level for LIHEAP to $7.6 billion per year for fiscal years 2011 to 2014, an increase of $2.5 billion over the last authorized level, enacted in 2005. The bill would also extend the expanded eligibility levels to families whose incomes total up to 75 percent of their state’s median income level.
According to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA), states assisted 8.3 million households last year, a more than 33 percent increase in the number of households served from the previous year. In addition, in large part due to the economic downturn, NEADA estimates that 10 million households may apply for assistance this year. However, 10 million households still represents less than one-third of all households that are eligible for help. Increasing the authorized LIHEAP funding level will allow states to meet this increased demand and to continue to provide meaningful aid.
Energy prices are also on the rise -- average household expenditures on heating oil this winter are expected to increase to $1,911 from $1,864 last winter, according to the Department of Energy.

PLEASE NOTE: The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming was created to explore American clean energy solutions that end our reliance on foreign oil and reduce carbon pollution.

The Select Committee was active during the 110th and 111th Congresses. This is an archived version of the website, to ensure that the public has ongoing access to the Select Committee record. This website, including external links, will not be updated after Jan. 3rd, 2010.

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