​The Reyes family of Decatur, Illinois, received one of the 100 Energy Star-rated window air conditioners Ameren Illinois donated through its Ameren Cares program to eight LIHEAP agencies. Richard Mark, president of Ameren Illinois, presents Emilia Reyes a basket with items the family can use in its home to make it more energy efficient.

Taking Home The Gold
Ameren Illinois Donates Air Conditioners, Helping Beat the Heat
August 2016

​EEI and the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC) have partnered to raise awareness of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) by designating August as LIHEAP Action Month.

LIHEAP is a federal program that benefits millions of low-income Americans who struggle to pay their energy bills. America’s electric companies supplement that federal effort through a number of low-income-focused programs.
   
In the heat of summer, Ameren Illinois, donated 500 air conditioners across its service territory to LIHEAP-eligible customers.  Ameren Illinois is making the donation through its Ameren Cares program, an initiative that connects the company with the communities it serves through charitable giving and volunteering.  Since the inception of Ameren Cares in 2013, Ameren Illinois has donated 1,700 air conditioner units to low-income customers.

Richard Mark, president of Ameren Illinois said, “The energy-efficient air conditioners we're donating not only provide a respite from the heat for customers who may not be able to afford it, but a cooler environment can be a life saver for the elderly or young children with respiratory problems .”

To qualify for LIHEAP assistance, families must have incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level—about $30,000 annually for a family of three—or 60 percent of the state’s median income level. However, many recipients fall well below the minimum income requirements.



One of the locations chosen to distribute the window units was the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation in East St. Louis.
 
“I have a household of five—and out of those five—I have three asthmatics. This air conditioning, it’s much appreciated because now we won’t have the hot air blowing on us. We will have cool air. And it will be better for us to breathe,” said Brittany White, an air conditioner recipient.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, a six-time Olympic medalist, can relate, having overcome the struggles of severe asthma herself during her career. “When you think of a family of five and they have no air, young people dealing with respiratory problems, asthma, this can really hopefully extend a lot of families’ quality of life,” she said.

To learn more about LIHEAP and why Congress should increase funding for this vital program, please visit eei.org or neuac.org.