Proposed Budget Cuts Threaten Assistance to 9,000 Louisiana Households
New Orleans, La. — Employees of
Entergy’s Louisiana utilities have joined forces with other low-income advocates
in Washington, DC, to urge Congress to find $5.1 billion for America''s
front-line energy assistance program. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance
Program helps low-income citizens pay utility bills for heating in the winter
and cooling in the summer.
According to a new study from Indiana
University, tough economic times have driven millions of Americans into poverty
in recent years and those numbers will increase even as the economy rebounds.
The US Census Bureau ranks Louisiana as having the second-highest poverty rate
in the nation with 18.7 percent of Louisianans living at or below the poverty
level. Meanwhile, LIHEAP funding has been reduced by nearly 40 percent over the
last two years.
“If LIHEAP funding is cut as
proposed, it will mean 9,000 fewer families will be served in Louisiana,” said
Patty Riddlebarger, director of social corporate responsibility for Entergy
Corporation. “We’ve got to do all we can to help our Louisiana customers find
the means to pay for essential heating and cooling.”
Although LIHEAP prioritizes families
with preschoolers, elderly or disabled members, many US veterans and their
families need LIHEAP. In fact, 20 percent of LIHEAP households are veterans, and
in some cases, the families of active-duty service men and women.
Entergy employees and charitable
groups participated in the National Fuel Funds Network’s Action Day for LIHEAP
to call for more funding at the federal level. Entergy has many programs
designed to meet the needs of its low-income customers including The Power to
Care Fund made up of contributions from customers, employees and shareholders.
However, even with these programs and charitable organizations, the needs still
outpace available resources.
“We and many others are asking
Congress to provide $5.1 billion for LIHEAP,” said Riddlebarger. “Families in
vulnerable situations are turning to LIHEAP in record numbers to make it through
these still tough times."
Citizens can stay connected to the
discussion and can even sign an online petition in support of LIHEAP funding by
and clicking on “LIHEAP Action Day”.
Entergy’s Louisiana utility companies
serve more than one million customers through the operating companies Entergy
Louisiana, LLC and Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, L.L.C. With operations in
southern, central and northeastern Louisiana, the companies are part of Entergy
Corporation’s electric system serving 2.8 million customers in Louisiana,
Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.
Entergy New Orleans, Inc. is an
electric and gas utility serving Orleans Parish and is a subsidiary of Entergy
Corporation. The company provides electricity to more than 160,000 customers and
natural gas to more than 100,000 customers in Orleans Parish.