States Call for Congress to Restore Funding for LIHEAP Record # of Households Receive Assistance – 1.5 Million Could be Cut from the Program Residential Utility Arrearages Reach Record Level

The National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA), representing the state directors of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), reported today that the program served 7.1 million households in FY 23 with heating and cooling assistance, the highest number on record. The appropriation for FY 23 included an additional $2 billion on top of the program’s regular base funding of $4.0 billion.


According to Mark Wolfe, Executive Director of NEADA, last year we received a supplemental appropriation of $2 billion to address rising prices to deal with the affordability crises that was driven by high temperatures and stubbornly high prices. The situation hasn’t changed and remains especially dire for low and moderate income families. Congress needs to continue the supplemental funding level or
states will be forced to cut up to 1.5 million families from the program.
(see estimated cuts by state, page 2).


Utility Arrearages Reach Record Levels: Utility arrearages also reached record levels in 2023, reflecting continued high cost of heating and cooling. More than one out of six households are behind on their energy bills, at 16 percent (21.2 million) of all households.. During calendar year 2023, the national arrearage balance increased from $17.8 billion in January 2023 to $20.3 billion in December 2023.


Other Key Findings:
• Since the start of the pandemic, the average cost of home heating for all fuel types has increased by close to 20% from $888 to $1,106.
• Table 1 lists FY24 state-by-state estimates of the 1.5 million households served if funding is reduced by $2 billion.
Note: The data discussed in this press released as part of a broader report on energy assistance
and affordability in conjunction with National Energy Assistance Day on February 1.
www.neada.org | 1667 K Street Northwest #700, Washington D.C. 20003 | 202-333-5915


Source: National Energy Assistance Directors Association, Contact: Mark Wolfe: 1/19/2024.

 

Families Fall Behind on Utility Bills – Utility Debt Reaches Record Levels: More than
one out of six households are behind on their energy bills, at 16 percent (21.2 million) of all U.S.
households.. During calendar year 2023, the national arrearage balance increased from $17.8 billion
in January 2023 to $20.3 billion in December 2023.

  • Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey: Families Struggling to Pay High Energy Bills. NEADA’s utility arrearage data are supported by other data that point out that families are
    struggling to pay high energy bills along with other indicators of family poverty. The Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey reported that lower income families are struggling to pay their home energy bills:
    •  17.3 percent of all households report being unable to pay their energy bill at least once during the last 12 months, with 26.7 percent foregoing other necessities and 17.1 percent keeping their home at an unsafe temperature in order to pay their energy bill.
    • Nearly half, or 51.5. percent, of LMI households have reported some level of energy insecurity.

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NEADA is the primary educational and policy organization for state directors of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program, which are federal programs that help low-income families pay their heating and cooling bills, and water and wastewater bills, respectively. For more information about NEADA and National Energy Assistance Day, visit www.neada.org

Contact: Mark Wolfe: / 202-320-9046