Entergy trying to help oil spill victims

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 3, 2010

BATON ROUGE – Customer advocates and employees of Entergy’s Louisiana companies visited Capitol Hill and Congress recently to fight for increased funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and for that assistance to extend to victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The group, joined by individuals who have received LIHEAP assistance during challenging financial crises, took part in the National Fuel Funds Network’s Washington Action Day for LIHEAP. The event aimed to raise awareness of the program’s importance and need for strong funding.

LIHEAP is a primary tool that helps working-poor families, especially those with preschoolers, and elderly or disabled individuals who are struggling to pay for their heating and cooling costs. Voluntary customer assistance programs run by Entergy, other utilities and charities don’t have the resources to meet the growing need.

“We have pressing economic problems in our coastal communities. The oil spill has already affected thousands of Louisiana families, and the economic impact is growing,” said Bill Mohl, president and chief executive officer of Entergy Louisiana, LLC and Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, L.L.C. “At current funding levels, LIHEAP helps less than 20 percent of the Louisiana families who qualify for assistance. We are urging additional funding and the release of LIHEAP emergency funds to provide important and timely assistance for families who need help now.”

Entergy is urging Congress to budget at least $5.1 billion for LIHEAP during federal fiscal year 2011 and reauthorize the program through 2014.

Funding for LIHEAP has been at $5.1 billion since the recession hit with full force in the fall of 2008.