PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Public Utilities Commission sent a letter last week to Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation to urge them to push for continued funding for Low Income Energy Assistance and Weatherization Assistance Programs. President Trump’s budget proposal calls for their elimination.
“Nearly 350,000 low-income residents benefit from LIHEAP every year,” said PUC spokesman Nils Hagen-Frederiksen. “It keeps them warm, it keeps them safe, it keeps them in their homes during the winter months.”READ MORE: Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf Calls On Lawmakers To Pass Fairness Act, Preventing Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation, Gender
Hagen-Frederiksen says with the state’s large population of seniors, many on a fixed income, the loss of those programs would be devastating.
“The commissioners were unanimous in their decision to reach out to the members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation, and encourage them to think very seriously about the impact of LIHEAP and weatherization on at-risk families across the state,” he said.READ MORE: Open For Business: Manayunk Chambers Guest House In Manayunk Can Be Anyone's Home Sweet Home
For the 2016-2017 season, officials say Pennsylvania received $185.5 million in federal heating assistance funding. In its letter, the PUC also asked that lawmakers consider at least maintaining the current level of funding.
“That not only addresses the need, but also plans for contingencies,” Hagen-Frederiksen said.
The cuts would hit especially hard in the Delaware Valley; close to 100,000 households participate, with nearly 75,000 of them in Philadelphia.MORE NEWS: Former Philadelphia City Council President Anna Verna, 90, Dies