Interesting national news story today about shifts this winter in Federal funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). There are so many things in this story to comment on that it may require several posts. But this was what grabbed me first:
“Emergency funding more than tripled for Florida and Georgia, and more than doubled in North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas… Even Puerto Rico picked up $540,000 under the formula.”
I really did a double-take. After considering some of the other absurdities of the world, I was eventually able to wrap my mind around the idea of Florida getting emergency heating aid funds, crazy as it seems. But I am completely perplexed by Puerto Rico. I thought perhaps the LIHEAP money for P.R. (and maybe for Florida, too) goes for emergency cooling in the summer, not heating in the winter– that would make more sense, and after all the title of the program is “energy assistance”, not “heating assistance”. So I tried to look this up, but the answer wasn’t easily found. I did find this chart straight from the LIHEAP website:
You can see what it says: “Cooling: 16 States. Heating: 51 States.” At minimum that means Hawaii is getting assistance to stay warm, which is strange enough. Is the “51st state” referenced indeed Puerto Rico? Or is that Washington, D.C.? Unclear. But a bit of research shows that the average January low in San Juan is 70ºF, and the record low of 62º. So if they indeed need any heat, let alone emergency heating assistance, I’m baffled! Maybe someone out there can comment.