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SUCCESSFUL PROMOTION OF LOW INCOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM EXHAUSTS CURRENT FUNDING; PROPOSED BUDGET CUTS THREATEN NEXT SEASON'S PROGRAM

SUCCESSFUL PROMOTION OF LOW INCOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM EXHAUSTS CURRENT FUNDING; PROPOSED BUDGET CUTS THREATEN NEXT SEASON'S PROGRAM
 PHILADELPHIA, May 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite a late start in the 1991-92 low income home energy assistance season (LIHEAP), increased communications outreach efforts resulted in the spending of Pennsylvania's entire federal allotment of $109 million.
 More than $8 million in grants for Philadelphia Electric Company (NYSE: PE) (PE) customers were approved, as compared to $5.6 million in the 1990-91 heating season. To date, 38,221 LIHEAP grants have been approved, compared to last year's total of 24,595. Some 10,000 additional applications are awaiting processing.
 According to Al Mikalauskas, vice president for customer and marketing services, increased promotional activity, coupled with help from Neighborhood Energy Centers (NECs) provided customers in filling out applications, prompted more of those in need to take advantage of energy assistance services this past heating season. Nick DeBenedictis, PECo's senior vice president for corporate and public affairs said the company utilized outdoor billboards, radio and television public service announcements, newspaper advertisements, and bill inserts to get the word out.
 "The challenge now," DeBenedictis stressed, "is to maintain LIHEAP funding. He recently joined U.S. Reps. Tom Ridge (R-Erie), and Lucien Blackwell (D-Philadelphia), City officials, representatives the Philadelphia Gas Works, and members of the Pennsylvania Energy Assistance and Weatherization Coalition in decrying a proposed 30 percent cut in federal LIHEAP funding for the 1992-93 heating season. In forecasting a projected increase in program participation next winter, the advocates of energy assistance also called on Harrisburg to fund energy assistance programs for low income residents in need, something the State does not now provide.
 According to Martha Bush, director of the Emergency Fuel Group, an umbrella organization of energy assistance groups, "We have a need for at least $110 million in federal LIHEAP money. The prospect of cuts would have tragic results -- smaller grants, fewer customers receiving help, a shorter LIHEAP season, and people being forced to live without heat."
 /delval/
 -0- 5/4/92
 /CONTACT: Steve Gary, 215-841-4127, or Carol Rath Gosser, 215-841-4126, both of Philadelphia Electric/
 (PE) CO: Philadelphia Electric Company ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI SU:


MP -- PH008 -- 5873 05/04/92 09:14 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 4, 1992
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