A survey by the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association shows the number of households receiving heating assistance has reached record levels for the second year in a row, increasing from 6.1 million (5.8 million heating assistance recipients and 0.3 million cooling assistance) in FY 2008 to 8.3 million (7.7 million heating and 0.6 million cooling) for FY 2009.
Eleven states reported increases of more than 50 percent in recipient households from FY 2008 to FY 2009: California 162 percent, Texas 122 percent, Florida 104 percent, Nevada 80 percent, Arizona 80 percent, Oklahoma 76.3 percent, Kentucky 72.1 percent, Delaware 71 percent, Tennessee 62 percent, Oregon 55 percent, and Washington 54 percent.
Despite the record enrollment, only 18.7 percent of the 44.3 million households eligible for LIHEAP received assistance in 2009, according to NEADA.
For FY 2010, the organization is projecting by year’s end an increase of 20 percent in the number of families applying for assistance based on initial application rates.
Additionally, NEADA is reporting that utility shut-offs and arrearages remained at high levels with approximately 4.3 million households shut off from power in FY 2009 up from 4.1 million in 2008. These families owed a total of $1.2 billion up from $1.0 billion in FY 2008. The average amount owed increased from $253 to $279. Approximately 12.5 million households were at least 30 days behind in their utility bills in FY 2009 as compared to 13.1 million in FY 2008. These families owed about $3.4 billion as compared to $3.6 billion in FY 2008. The average amount owed increased from $272 to $276.