PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A coalition of consumers groups, city agencies, and charitable foundations is launching a counter-strike against plans by President Obama and the House of Representatives to make massive cuts to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

“It’s not only penny-wise and pound-foolish, it’s stupid.”

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John Rowe, executive director of the Utility Emergency Services Fund, is pulling no punches on his thoughts about the proposal to effectively gut LIHEAP.

“We saw about 5,000 people last year who came to us who needed help to get utilities turned back on,” Rowe said. “If there’s another 55,000 who don’t get LIHEAP the strain on the city budget, the strain on the state budget will be tremendous.”

Philadelphia Consumer Advocate Lance Haver says now the hard work begins.

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“What we’re doing is asking our elected officials to join with us and call on the administration to rethink this,” he said. “Yes, we may have to save money but we shouldn’t save it by freezing people out.”

The coalition will be lobbying local lawmakers while getting their message out to the public.

Reported by Paul Kurtz, KYW Newsradio

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