November 15, 2013 — The National Energy Assistance Directors' Association (NEADA) released the results of a survey this week that quantified how many American households went without energy assistance due to the federal sequester cuts of FY 2013. The sequester reduced LIHEAP funding by about $155 million, and NEADA reported that translated into about 300,000 low-income households not receiving heating or cooling assistance.
Key findings from the NEADA Survey:
- As a direct result of the sequester, the total number of households receiving heating assistance declined by 194,000 (from 6.9 million in FY 2012 to about 6.7 million in FY 2013), and those receiving cooling assistance declined by about 104,000 (from 1.1 million to about 996,000).
- The sequester cuts were on top of severe LIHEAP cuts that have been enacted since FY 2010. From FY 2010 to FY 2102, total funding was reduced from $5.1 billion to $3.47 billion, and then further reduced by the sequester to $3.3 billion in FY 2013.
- The outlook for the coming winter is grim, since the Energy Information Administration has projected that the average cost of heating will increase from $922 last winter to $977 this winter. For those using natural gas, heating costs are expected to increase by 13 percent, and the overall average increase among all fuel types is projected to be about 6 percent.
- The numbers reported by NEADA don't include the second sequester, which could cause more harmful effects unless Congress takes action to reverse it.
NEADA's press release about the survey included two tables, which can be found here. One table provides national summary data for FY 2010 through projected totals for FY 2014 about the following topics: purchasing power of LIHEAP; the number of households served (reproduced below); and appropriations data. The second table provides state-by-state heating and cooling data for households receiving energy assistance in FY 2013 and FY 2012.
Estimated Households Served and Average Grant (FY 2010-FY2014) Fiscal Year Appropriation (in thousands) Households (in thousands) Average Grant 2010 $5,100,000 8,047 $520 2011 $4,700,000 8,013 $481 2012 $3,471,672 6,900 $413 2013 $3,317,000 6,706 $406 2014 (Admin. Budget) $2,919,000 5,901 $406 2014 (Straight Continuing Resolution) $3,317,000 6,706 $406 2014 (Sequester) $3,184,320 6,438 $406 Source: NEADA
Source: NEADA press release