Contact: Jane Jankowski
Phone: 317/232-1622

For Immediate Release: Oct 13, 2005
Governor expands Energy Assistance Program reach

INDIANAPOLIS (October 13, 2005) ? Governor Mitch Daniels announced today that more Hoosier households will be helped by the state?s Energy Assistance Program (EAP).

During the upcoming winter heating season, energy assistance eligibility will be expanded to include families whose incomes are at a level of 150 percent of poverty. Typically, the eligibility threshold is 125 percent of poverty.

?Although 2005 may be extreme, higher cost energy isn?t a one-year phenomenon. The first chore is to help people get through this winter, but longer term, we need to ramp up weatherization and make conservation a way of life,? said Daniels.

Only once before, in 2001, has the eligibility threshold for EAP assistance been expanded to 150 percent of poverty. Estimates are that $5 million to $7 million in additional funds will be needed to help more people through EAP. Indiana is seeking additional federal funds to ensure that all eligible residents who seek assistance will receive it.

After Hurricane Katrina shut down Gulf of Mexico natural gas production, the governor established his Winter Heating Season Task Force, which includes representatives from the governor?s office, lieutenant governor?s office, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor and the Family and Social Services Administration, which administers EAP.

?I wanted to assure a coordinated state effort to prepare for what we know will be a tough winter for low-income people,? Daniels said.