Entergy Arkansas is donating $50,000 to the Arkansas Community Action Agencies Association, which manages the federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program from 14 locations across the state serving citizens in 74 counties.
The money will be used to purchase personal protective equipment, plexiglass or other contact barriers, office equipment and other supplies that will expedite processing of requests for LIHEAP assistance. Entergy Arkansas expects the number of those needing and qualifying for assistance to increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The federal government has increased funding to assist eligible households and we are working with local agencies to ensure customers receive as much funding as possible,” said Entergy Arkansas Vice President of Customer Service Michael Considine.
LIHEAP provides financial assistance with summer energy costs to low-income households by administering Regular Assistance and Crisis Intervention Programs. Households with priority include those with a senior age 60 or older, an individual with a disability and those with one or more children under the age of 6. The latest data for Arkansas shows nearly one in three Arkansas households qualify for assistance, but less than one-third of those receive it.
Eligible households can receive a one-time-per-year payment to the household’s energy supplier. The Crisis Intervention Program provides payment for eligible households facing energy-related emergencies.
The Arkansas program originally received funding of $33.1 million for fiscal year 2020, which began Oct. 1, 2019, but was granted an additional $8.2 million as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress this spring.
Letters will be sent in the next few weeks to Entergy Arkansas residential customers with a past-due balance with a message about qualifications, how to apply and required documentation. The application period begins July 13, and customers are encouraged to apply quickly as the funding is limited. The application link is online.
Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 700,000 customers in 63 Arkansas counties.