08.02.06

Schumer Details Plans To Lower Home Heating Prices In Face Of Huge Winter Storm

Skyrocketing Oil Prices Drive Up Home Winter Heating Bills By $329 For Average New York HouseholdWith New Yorkers Energy Bills Skyrocketing, Schumer Discusses Steps To Lower Prices, Restore Funding to Low Income Home Energy Assistance ProgramSchumer Details Home Heating Oil Price Increases in Each County; Capital Region Homeowners Paying $36.6 million more; Central NY $18.6 m; Roch

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today vowed to fight to lower prices for New Yorkers who are paying more than 30 percent more for home heating oil this winter. Schumer today unveiled a new study showing that the average New York household using home heating oil is paying approximately $329 more this year than last year and called on the Administration to pressure Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to reverse its recent decision to abandon a price target band, a significant factor in the high cost of oil. Schumer also committed to fight to restore funding to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), an area gutted by the Administration in its recent budget proposal.

New Yorkers know this week more than ever how expensive it is to heat their homes, Schumer said. We are in are in a nowin situation when it comes to heating their homes this year. When the price of oil goes up, it's not just a disruption in the balance of global economic or diplomatic factors, it's real money coming out of the pockets of average people, every single day. New Yorkers are being stretched too thin as it is we must take immediate steps to ease this growing financial burden.

Schumer said that home heating oil prices have been too high for too long. According to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, as of last week, the average cost of a gallon of home heating oil was $2.10, up 38 cents from the $1.72 it cost during the same week last year. In an effort to reduce the price of home heating oil and the burden of expensive heating bills for New Yorkers, Schumer announced today he is sending a letter to President Bush urging him to pressure OPEC to abandon its recent price increase. OPEC made a formal decision to discard its crude oil target price band of $2228. This decision came on the heels of OPECs December announcement that it had decided to cut production to 27 million barrels per day. These actions amount to little more than an attempt by OPEC to enhance profits by capitalizing on last years drastic oil price spikes. As a result of these higher prices, OPECs members increased their profits last year by over $86 billion.

Schumer today released a new analysis showing how much more New Yorkers in each county are paying to heat their homes this winter than they would have at last years home heating oil prices. Specifically, Schumer found that:

� This winter, families in the Capital Region are paying an estimated $36.6 million more for home heating oil with the average household paying $340 extra or 34% more than they would have last year.
� This winter, families in Central New York are paying an estimated $18.6 million more for home heating oil with the average household paying $322 extra or 32% more than they would have last year.
� This winter, families in Rochester / Finger Lakes are paying an estimated $16.8 million more for home heating oil with the average household paying $331 extra or 32% more than they would have last year.
� This winter, families in the Hudson Valley are paying an estimated $125 million more for home heating oil with the average household paying $328 extra or 29% more than they would have last year.
� This winter, families in the North Country are paying an estimated $31.2 million more for home heating oil with the average household paying $325 extra or 31% more than they would have last year.
� This winter, families in the Southern Tier are paying an estimated $21.8 million more for home heating oil with the average household paying $324 extra or 32% more than they would have last year.
� This winter, families in Western New York are paying an estimated $11.7 million more for home heating oil with the average household paying $334 extra or 34% more than they would have last year.

In addition, despite highenergy prices and recent cold snaps that have necessitated the release of emergency funds, the Presidents recent budget proposal actually calls for a cut of $80 million, or 4.3% in regular funding for LIHEAP from what was appropriated last year. LIHEAP is a block grant that gives lowincome households financial help to offset the costs of heating and/or cooling their homes. There are over 785,000 households that receive LIHEAP funds in New York. Under this cut, New York stands to receive over $10 million less in funding and may be forced to curtail benefits or reduce the number of people eligible for assistance.

Schumer today announced he is urging the Administration to restore funding to LIHEAP. Schumer also signed onto a bipartisan letter urging the Chairmen of the Senate Budget Committee to provide $3 billion for LIHEAP in fiscal 2006 and that the allocation provide for advance appropriations for fiscal 2007. With $3 billion in regular funding and advance appropriations, LIHEAP can help working lowincome families, senior citizens, and disabled individuals maintain economic stability. Since 1981, the number of households eligible for LIHEAP assistance has grown. This winter, LIHEAP will serve an estimated 5 million households. Yet, this is only about 15 percent of the 32 million households that are eligible for federal assistance.

"Cutting the Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) program is wrongheaded and inappropriate, especially as the OPEC cartel continues to jack up oil prices and tip American consumers upside down," Schumer said.

To view Schumer's analysis click here.



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