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Our View: For those in need, energy program is important

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 6:25 a.m. CDT

Most of us have been running our air conditioners all summer.

When temperatures reach the 90s – and even the 100s, as they did again on Tuesday – just about every day, we don’t really have a choice.

In fact, average temperatures so far this month are more than 6 degrees higher than normal, according to the state’s climatologist.

One big problem with this summer’s heat is that running your air-conditioning every day is expensive.

And if you’re retired, if you live on a fixed or lower income, or if you are one of the about 9 percent of the population that remain unemployed in this tough economy, you might not be able to afford monthly electricity bills that are in the hundreds of dollars.

That’s why we’re encouraged to see the news this week that the state of Illinois is reviving a program that helps families who are struggling financially to pay to cool their homes.

The state has set aside $10 million this year for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which was canceled last year when federal funding to it was cut. With the state money, LIHEAP expects to be able to help about 60,000 households across Illinois.

At least that many likely will need the help.

State financial issues aside, we think this is an important program for people in need.

Qualified households must have an income of no more than 50 percent above the federal poverty line, according to The Associated Press. A family of four, for example, would qualify with an income of up to $33,500.

If you or someone you know is eligible, call 877-411-9276 to apply.

Don’t wait. The deadline for applying is July 27.

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