The federal funding continuing resolution recently signed by President Bush includes $57.1 million for Louisiana through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to assist low-income families in affording the high cost of utility bills.
The LIHEAP initiative primarily provides assistance to low-income households by temporarily assisting families in paying energy bills beyond their means of payment. Before Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, Governor Jindal, Natural Resources Secretary Scott Angelle and Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell came up with a plan to re-direct $10 million in state funds to help Louisiana families afford the high cost of their utility bills.
With the state’s additional funding authorized by Governor Jindal, the LIHEAP program had enough money to serve an estimated 60,000 Louisiana households in 2008, based on estimated average payments. Estimates indicate the $57.1 million in LIHEAP funding for 2009 could serve about 120,000 households. This money will be available for LHFA sometime in the late fall.