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MEMBERS OF CONGRESS JOIN STATE-WIDE ENERGY ASSISTANCE COALITION, OFFICIALS, AND LOCAL UTILITIES TO SUPPORT LOW INCOME ENERGY FUNDING

 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS JOIN STATE-WIDE ENERGY ASSISTANCE COALITION,


OFFICIALS, AND LOCAL UTILITIES TO SUPPORT LOW INCOME ENERGY FUNDING
 PHILADELPHIA, April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Representatives Tom Ridge (R-Erie), Lucien Blackwell (D-Philadelphia), and Tom Foglietta (D-Philadelphia) will join City officials, representatives of local utilities, and low income energy assistance advocacy groups tomorrow, Thursday, April 23, at 2 p.m. in front of 5128 Merion Ave. (near 52nd Street and Lancaster Avenue) in West Philadelphia, to speak out in support of increasing federal low income energy assistance services.
 The meeting is being sponsored by the Pennsylvania Energy Assistance and Weatherization Coalition.
 The LIHEAP season, which ran from September '91 through April '92, opened late and closed early this heating season due to a shortage of funds. Pennsylvania's federally allocated LIHEAP budget of $101 million plus $22.5 million in additional fuel funds was entirely spent.
 Over the winter, Philadelphia Electric Company and the Philadelphia Gas Works teamed up with local energy assistance agencies to raise awareness among low income customers of the LIHEAP grants. The outreach efforts resulted in approximately 80,000 grants being approved, which is 9,000 more grants approved or a seven percent increase, over the number of LIHEAP grants approved last year. Tomorrow's (Thursday's) public event, prompted by a projected increase in program participation next winter and a proposed 30 percent cut in federal LIHEAP funding, is designed to enlist federal and state officials in the fight to ensure there be no cuts LIHEAP funding.
 According to Martha Bush, Director of the Emergency Fuel Group, an umbrella organization of emergency energy assistance groups, "now is the time to look ahead to next year's heating season, where we have a need for $110 million in federal LIHEAP money. The prospect of cuts in LIHEAP services would have tragic results -- smaller grants, fewer customers receiving help, a shorter LIHEAP season, and people being forced to live without heat."
 Those scheduled to participate in the event include:
 -- U.S. Congressman Tom Ridge (R-Erie)
 -- U.S. Congressman Lucien Blackwell (D-Philadelphia)
 -- U.S. Congressman Tom Foglietta (D-Philadelphia)
 -- Pa. State Rep. David Richardson (D-201, Philadelphia)
 -- Thurman Bullock, Deputy Controller for the City of Philadelphia, representing Jonathan Saidel, City Controller
 -- Roger Ulshafer, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner
 -- Nicholas DeBenedictis, Senior Vice President, Philadelphia Electric Company
 -- Al Degen, President, Philadelphia Gas Works
 -- David Boonin, Executive Director, Philadelphia Gas Commission
 -- Ed Geiger, Metropolitan Council of Churches
 -- Dave Epple, Pennsylvania Electrical Association
 -- Phil McKain, Pa. Directors' Association, and Vice President of Pennsylvania Energy Assistance and Weatherization Coalition
 -- Representatives from the various low income energy assistance programs, including Pennsylvania Energy Assistance and Weatherization Coalition, Alliance Community Legal Services, Emergency Fuel Group, Energy Coordinating Agency, Utility Emergency Service Fund, Mayor's Office of Community Service, Pa. Council of Churches, Metropolitan Council of Churches, Pennsylvania Directors' Association for Community Action Inc., Pennsylvania Social Services Union.
 /delval/
 -0- 4/22/92
 /CONTACT: Steve Gary, 215-841-4127, or Carol Rath Gosser, 215-841-4126, both of PECO/
 (PE) CO: Philadelphia Electric Company ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI SU:


JS -- PH056 -- 1512 04/22/92 17:36 EDT
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Date:Apr 22, 1992
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