SOURCE: MEDA

MEDA

April 01, 2014 12:44 ET

Emergency Energy Assistance Reaches Final States of Approval in the Missouri Legislature

Fund Would Provide Critical Help to Pay Utility Bills

JEFFERSON CITY, MO--(Marketwired - Apr 1, 2014) - On behalf of thousands of struggling Missourians, we would like to extend our sincere appreciation for the efforts to date by Missouri legislators and Governor Nixon to fund UTILICARE in the Supplemental and FY 2015 budget. Hopefully, those critical funds will be available soon to assist financially strapped citizens pay their utility bills after this bitterly cold winter, thanks to outstanding efforts to fund the Utilicare program this year. These special measures were also made possible by the efforts of House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Rick Stream of Kirkwood, Senate Appropriations Chairman Sen. Kurt Schaefer of Columbia, House Majority Floor Leader Rep. John Diehl of Town and Country, Senator Jamilah Nasheed of St Louis, and the bipartisan support from legislative leadership and members of both the Missouri House and Senate.

"Thanks to the Missouri legislature, the governor and all the supporters of this important cause. Thank you for understanding the need and acting quickly to help," says Heather Lockard, Executive Director of the Missouri Association of Community Action Agencies.

According to the National Climatic Data Center, energy demand was 27 percent higher than average this winter. For families on fixed incomes, the need to address higher energy bills can be especially challenging. If approved, this measure could provide up to $3 million to help Missourians, especially the elderly, disabled and those with young children who are struggling after this extremely cold winter.

March 31st marks the traditional last day of the Cold Weather Rule in Missouri, which provides customers the most lenient payment plans each year and helps avoid utility disconnection for non-payment of bills during the coldest periods of the winter. The funds would be distributed among 18 Community Action Agencies and the Urban League. Applications and eligibility requirements are available through local agencies.

The Missouri House has also approved $6 million for Utilicare to help Missourians for fiscal year 2015 beginning July 1, 2014. Those dollars are equally critical as other customers in need will continue to struggle throughout the year to recover from the effects of lingering, higher bill payments resulting from the severe winter weather. Maintaining essential utility services is crucial to a healthy and safe home. We look forward to the final passage of the regular budget later this legislative session.

     
AARP   Consumers Council of Missouri
Community Action Agency of St. Louis County   Missouri Energy Development Association
United Services Community Action Agency   Mid America Assistance Coalition
Missouri Association for Social Welfare   Economic Security Corporation of SW Area
Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis    
Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation   Community Services, Inc.
Weatherization Program   (Maryville)
Phoenix Family   Central Missouri Action Agency
Missouri Association for Community Action   Catholic Charities of St Louis
     

About MEDA: Organized in 2003, the Missouri Energy Development Association (MEDA) is the association of Missouri's Investor-Owned Utilities and their strategic partners. MEDA's members serve nearly 4 million customers, invest over $1 billion in-state annually, and employ over 11,500 Missourians while providing the electric, natural gas, and water services integral to the safety and prosperity of all Missourians.

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