Monthly Archives: February 2008

Needy Households Must Stop Paying Energy Providers to Obtain Supplemental HEAP Benefits

Good News: Additional Federal HEAP FundsWith much fanfare, in February, New York received $82.3 million in supplemental federal funds for operation of the HEAP program this winter. See, e.g., Governor Spitzer Announces Additional Heating Assistance To Combat Rising Energy Prices; N.Y. OKs Extra Aid to Pay for Heat Bills: Needy Families May See Added Payment Read more…

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PULP Urges HEAP Program Reforms

BackgroundOn February 15, 2008 PULP filed comments with the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) urging changes in the state’s Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). HEAP is a federally funded block grant program, supervised by OTDA and implemented by local social services districts. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Act of Read more…

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Verizon Re-Launches Automatic Enrollment for Lifeline

In recent meetings with Verizon’s regulatory and Lifeline staffs, PULP has learned that automatic enrollment for Lifeline has returned. Although the automatic enrollment initiative, which compares public assistance recipient rolls with the carrier’s list of Lifeline customers, had been abandoned a few years back due to unexplained privacy concerns, the company has assured PULP that Read more…

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Residential Submetering Update

The Public Service Commission (PSC) requires submeterers who resell electricity to apartment dwellers to agree, as a condition of permission to submeter, not to charge more than the customers would be charged if they were directly metered customers of the utility, and to provide all of the protections of the Home Energy Fair Practices Act Read more…

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Governor Spitzer’s Budget Leaves PULP’s Survival to the Legislature

PULP BackgroundSince 1981, the Public Utility Law Project (PULP) has received state funding to support its mission of advocacy on behalf of low and fixed income utility and energy consumers. PULP vigilantly enforces rights of utility consumers under the laws, and has sparked and contributed to major initiatives affecting affordability, universal service, and customer protection. Read more…

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National Grid Adds "Consumer Advocates"

National Grid serves approximately 1.5 million electric customers and 540,000 natural gas customers in upstate New York. In February 2008, National Grid sent letters addressed to “Assistance Agencies Colleagues” announcing that the utility hired four new “consumer advocates” for its widespread upstate New York service territory. This could be a positive development for customers and Read more…

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Bush Proposes Elimination of Low Income Home Weatherization Program

In his proposed budget for 2009, President Bush proposes to delete all funding for the Department of Energy (DOE) Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program. DOE described the program as follows: The Weatherization Assistance Program enables low-income families to permanently reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. It is this country’s longest Read more…

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Bush Proposes LIHEAP Cuts in 2009 Budget

President Bush Proposes LIHEAP Funding Cut in 2009 Budget On February 4, 2008 President Bush issued his budget proposals for the federal 2009 Fiscal Year which begins October 1, 1008. If enacted, funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), would be reduced from $2.522 billion to $2.136 billion, a cut that could Read more…

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