Senator D'Allesandro Calls for Solution to the New Hampshire Electric Assistance Program Problem

For Immediate Release

Contact: Senator Lou D’Allesandro

Phone: 603 271-2600


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Concord, NH – Today Senator Lou D’Allesandro, D-District 20, calls for state action to help the 15,000 New Hampshire citizens who stopped receiving electric assistance earlier this summer.

The New Hampshire Electric Assistance Program (EAP) is designed to help low income citizens pay their energy costs. At the end of the 2005 legislative session, the Legislature passed a measure to create a short term Supplemental Electric Assistance Program (SWEAP), which was implemented to help assist the roughly 15,000 people on the waiting list for electric assistance.

“SWEAP was designed to help New Hampshire citizens afford the rising costs of electricity, and covered the 15,000 people on the waiting list for assistance,” stated Sen. D’Allesandro. “Since July, when the Supplemental Assistance Program ended, over 15,000 people have stopped receiving help and as a result have been forced to pay double or even triple the amounts they had previously been paying with the assistance. This additional cost to these New Hampshire citizens is unmanageable and in many cases, means the difference between having enough money for food and medications and going without.”

Since the implementation of SWEAP, the Legislature, along with Community Action Programs (CAP) and the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), have been meeting to reorient the program to cover households who most need the electric assistance money and who meet certain federal poverty guidelines.

“I appreciate the study going into extending coverage of the EAP,” said Sen. D’Allesandro. “However, we need to act soon to ensure that the 15,000 New Hampshire citizens who most need our help affording electricity receive it. I have been working with the CAP agencies, and will work with the House and Senate in order to ensure funding for this critical program.”