Mid-Summer 2019 LIHEAP NEWS WRAP-UP: July Hottest Month on Earth Ever!!

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Writing and Reporting by Jake Brown

 

July was reported to be Earth’s hottest month on record!  Hotter temperatures translates to higher electric bills; the first thing people do in life-threatening weather like this is reach for the thermostat to turn it down. USA Today reporting that “2019 is almost certain to end up as one of the three warmest years on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.  It's been a brutally hot summer around the globe. Europe suffered through an intense heat wave in late June that saw the highest temperature ever recorded in France. The extreme heat in Europe contributed to the Earth's hottest June on record. And this past weekend, tens of millions of people across the United States were under heat alerts as temperatures in cities such as New York City, Little Rock and Memphis rocketed above 100 degrees.” 1

 

Rolling up their sleeves around the country to pitch in on offering relief where they could, everyone from local municipalities to statehouse, Community Action Agencies to Advocate organizations and even the utilities themselves were doing taking proactive action to help, with the Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland helping residents in need to purchase fans or wall-unit air conditioners, noting that “July and August are two of the hottest months of the year in Ohio, especially for senior citizens or those with serious medical conditions.” 

 

Helping out with utility payments courtesy of LIHEAP aid and “in partnership with First Energy the Council offers another solution to assist with utility bill payments for the customers of the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, Ohio Edison, and Toledo Edison…the Fuel Fund program provides up to a $300 maximum annual benefit to households for home utility bill assistance. In order to be eligible, a household cannot have participated in the program within the past year and must have paid their electric bill at least once in the prior three months.  The Fuel Fund program serves residents in Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Lake, Lorain and Geauga counties.” 2  Across the country and plains of Nebraska, the heat was beating up cornhuskers around the state, with the state’s Dept. of Health and Human Services taking extraordinary steps to distribute free fans across all 42 counties around the state, hoping to beat last year’s record of 3,321 fans distributed with partner organizations. 3

 

            Throughout the Midwest, the Neighbor to Neighbor Program was on display for Indiana Michigan Power customers who needed help keeping the heat down and power on, proudly sharing the news that “I&M customers have donated more than $10,000 to help out fellow customers through the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program.  Later this summer, I&M plans to offer customers the opportunity sign up online for a monthly contribution; a one-time contribution; or to ‘round up’ their bill to the next whole dollar, contributing the excess to the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund. For example, if a customer’s bill is $94.25, the customer can choose to pay $95, with a donation of 75 cents going to Neighbor-to-Neighbor.” 4

 

Down in sweltering Texas, a similar strategy was being employed to help combat what The Energy Reliability Council of Texas, operator of the state’s electric grid, warned that the “Summer 2019 could rank in the hottest third summer (of) all-time,” with ChooseEnergy.com cautioning that this “isn’t good news for the state’s poorest residents. Whether there’s heat radiating off the pavement or snow falling from the sky, no household should go without energy to regulate the temperature inside – even when residents can’t afford your monthly bill.”  To help, the energy assistance advocate compiled “a list of various federal and local energy assistance programs available to low-income customers to help them power their homes through any kind of weather…(as) Low-income Texans face a particularly hot summer. Rates are sky-high because of uncertainty over the state’s electricity reserves. As the temperatures climb, prices likely will continue to climb as well.” 5

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/07/24/global-warming-july-expected-earths-hottest-month-record/1814783001/

  2. http://www.ceogc.org/energy-assistance/

  3. https://www.kearneyhub.com/news/local/dhhs-giving-away-free-fans-through-low-income-home-energy/article_283f2528-9372-11e9-883d-37870d3082a0.html

  4. https://www.news-sentinel.com/news/local-news/2019/07/03/ims-neighbor-to-neighbor-program-offers-help-with-electric-bills/

  5. https://www.chooseenergy.com/blog/energy-tips/summer-energy-assistance-programs/