Heat Waves Haunt June

Air Conditioners & LIHEAP Hotlines Buzz to Life

Writing and Reporting by Jake Brown

Living up to the same sweltering  forecast as last summer, USA Today quoted AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey’s unsurprising June 11th prediction of “record highs from the Dakotas and down to Nebraska and Kansas all the way through the Northeast.  There should be at least a few records in each state across that swath.”

In anticipation of the coming heat waves following 4 heat wave-related deaths last summer, National Public Radio reported that  Philadelphia officials were acting fast, tapping LIHEAP funds to aid in setting up emergency cooling centers available to the public throughout the scorching summer, with the Public Utility Commissioner David Sweet directing an effort he said had a life-saving impact for the elderly in particular, both in terms of health and safety, as he reasoned that “perhaps are worried about crime, they have all the windows shut, all the doors shut, and either don’t own an air conditioner or can’t afford the electricity to run it and so they jeopardize their health.”

Next door in New Jersey, the public and private sectors were teaming up to help families struggling to stay cool after Atlantic City Electric joined forces with local non-profit People to People to launch ACE Helping Hands, explaining that “the grant will subsidize other energy assistance programs available to ACE customers such as the Universal Service Fund (USF), Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), New Jersey Shares, and the TRUE and Payment Assistance for Gas and Electric (PAGE) utility assistance programs.”

Down in the Southwest, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services announced a LIHEAP Broadcast Message as temperatures heated up that the state’s Open Enrollment period for Energy Crisis Assistance would be ending Friday, June 16th, 2017.  Noting of the difference this assistance made in keeping 182,000 families cool last summer of 2016,  between the Regular Energy Assistance Program and Life Threatening Energy Assistance Program available during the summer, the Dept. noted thathelp was available for a household’s “primary cooling utility bill between June through August during LIHEAP Summer Cooling enrollment period.”