Temperatures Plunge While Heating Bills Soar

This winter millions of Americans reluctantly became acquainted with the term “polar vortex” and the substantial impact it will have on their home heating bills. The 2013-14 winter has been notable for the repeated onslaught of bitterly cold Arctic air masses bringing waves of below-normal temperatures to the country’s Midwest, South and East. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that through January the average number of heating degree days has been 12 percent higher compared to the previous winter. Not surprisingly, …

Not Enough Households Staying Warm With LIHEAP

Low-income households often face challenges in keeping pace with rising energy costs. A recent study shows that despite federal assistance amounting to $3.4 billion, in the winter of 2011-12 low-income households were left struggling to pay $35.1 billion in energy costs. The federal government helps eligible low-income households maintain adequate energy mainly through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP serves to protect eligible families by helping keep their homes warm during winter and cool during summer. Although …

Higher Heating Bills Ahead for Many Older Households

Spectacular fall foliage and cooler nights mean many folks are digging out jackets and sweaters from their closets as well as firing up their home heating systems. While temperatures will provide relief from the high electricity bills from the summer cooling season, rising costs for winter heating may make the respite from high utility bills a brief one. >> Sign up for the AARP Money newsletter An AARP Public Policy Institute analysis projects that during the coming winter heating season …

The Long Hot Summer

The arrival of summer brings warmer temperatures and more hours of daylight. While some folks are happy to pack away their sweaters and say goodbye to high utility bills resulting from winter heating season, the arrival of summer cooling season heralds a spike in electric bills for others. Expenditures on electricity constitute the largest portion of utility expenditures for older consumers and the cost of running air conditioning in summer is a major contributing factor. Because exposure to extreme temperatures …

Sequester: Doom or Snooze? 5 Points of View

Everyone’s got an opinion on the sequester, from “the sky is falling” to “ho-hum.” Here are a few more perspectives on the impact of the $85 billion in federal spending cuts that kick in March 1. The sequester saves Social Security. Laura Clawson on Daily Kos Daily Kos staffer Clawson makes the argument that an alternative deal to stave off sequester likely would “gut Social Security.” Social Security and Medicare benefits are protected from the automatic cuts. But she quotes Rep. …

Stay warm this winter – and save money!

Hello, blog readers! This is Gerardo Cardenas with the AARP Illinois communications team, bringing you some important and urgent news. In spite of an unseasonably mild December, winter is back in Illinois in full force in 2012, and for all residents, but especially for low income seniors and families it’s critical to stay warm through the rest of the season. The federal government has just released an additional $863 million to help low income households with energy costs. Illinois gets about …