Summer Energy Assistance Program Begins

June  24, 2014

      Trying to stay cool this summer can spark higher electricity bills, but low-income residents in Illinois will receive relief through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. 

      Project NOW, a social service agency, will begin accepting applications for the program, which gives residents a one-time $150 credit for energy bills. 

      Jennifer Howard, the Community Services Coordinator, says due to this year's longer, colder winter, many residents ended up with higher gas bills. The payment is meant to offset those extra costs. 

      "We've seen people that are on a budget payment have higher bills now, whereas they are usually lower at this time of year. The state has kind of implemented the program to help kind of offset the costs for the summer until the heating program starts back up in September."

      The program is for families with children age 5 and under, people with disabilities, and seniors.

       Howard says, "A lot our seniors are on budgets. and turning the air on adds to the cost of their bills for the month. And some just can't afford to do so."

      Howard says the agency received 9,000 applications last year, and could receive more this year.  Starting on July 3rd, residents of Henry, Mercer, and Rock Island counties can call Project NOW to schedule an

      appointment to apply for the LIHEAP Summer Energy Assistance Program. 

      The program runs through July 23rd.

       Residents can also call to receive a free fan at any point this summer.