Iowans who can’t afford air conditioning -may- soon be able to get some relief from the heat. Administrators of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, are hoping for rapid Congressional approval of a spending bill that -may- bring millions of dollars to the Iowa program.Jerry McKim is chief of the Bureau of Energy Assistance, which runs LIHEAP in Iowa. Of the 300-million dollar national appropriation, he says Iowa is due about six million. McKim says LIHEAP is currently broke, as it was overwhelmed by requests for help in paying heating bills last winter.He says 84-thousand households in Iowa applied for help to pay the winter bills and there was only enough money to help 82-thousand. If the new funding comes through, McKim says the first priority would be to help the two thousand Iowa households that still can’t pay their overdue heating bills from several months ago. He says that could cost two-and-a-half million dollars. Then, McKim says any other money that’s sent could go toward the current problems caused by the heat wave.A report from the Iowa Utilities Board finds customers on the budget-billing plan owed nearly 129-million dollars in outstanding balances as of April. That compares to 28-million owed a year ago.
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