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October 21, 2005

Governor Blagojevich Lowers Thermostats at State Buildings to Reduce Winter Heating Costs
Emergency Energy Conservation Plan to Save State Millions

CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today ordered the thermostats lowered in thousands of state facilities to reduce the state’s winter heating costs.  Setting back the thermostat in state office buildings and other facilities from November 1st through April 15, 2006 will save the state an estimated $4 million in heating costs.  The Governor took this action as part of his Emergency Energy Assistance Initiative launched last month to confront steep increases in winter heating
costs due to record-high natural gas prices. 

“We’re doing the same thing here in state government that we’re asking all Illinois families to do this winter – we’re lowering the thermostat to conserve energy to keep our winter heating bills down,” Gov. Blagojevich said.  “With natural gas prices at a historic high we have to do all we can to reduce our fuel use.”  
The Emergency Energy Conservation Plan will affect nearly 2,000 state facilities, including office buildings, warehouses, garages and other facilities.  Most facilities will lower their daytime temperatures from 70-72 degrees to 68 degrees.  At nighttime and during off-hours, facilities not open to the public or to employees working routine schedules will turn back their thermostats to 55 degrees.  Residential facilities such as prisons and military barracks will lower their temperatures to 68 degrees around the clock.

The plan does not affect temperatures at in-patient health-care facilities, homeless shelters and other buildings housing vulnerable populations or where temperature-sensitive public safety and law enforcement operations are conducted.
“This Emergency Energy Conservation Plan is the next step in our comprehensive effort to help prepare everyone in Illinois for this winter’s unprecedented heating prices,” said Ed Hurley, Director of Emergency Energy Assistance.  “For every degree people lower their heat between 70-degrees and 60-degrees, households can save about 3 percent on heating costs.  People should also replace or clean their furnace filters monthly, reduce their hot water temperature and weatherize their homes to seal up air leaks around doors and windows, pipes and cracks to help keep the heat in.  All these steps will help lower utility bills.  But, if people simply cannot afford to adequately heat their homes, they should sign up for energy assistance programs or get help by going to a warming center in their community.”
Earlier this month, Gov. Blagojevich joined more than two-dozen other Governors in sending a letter to President Bush and Congressional leaders urging them to approve additional federal funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).  Gov. Blagojevich took this action because the $2.1 billion in current funding is inadequate to help vulnerable families get through this winter.
To ensure that limited LIHEAP funds help as many families as possible, Gov. Blagojevich last week convinced Illinois’ major utility companies to waive reconnection fees and suspend deposit requirements for customers receiving LIHEAP.  This action – which ensures that LIHEAP funding will be used directly for heating costs, not administrative add-ons that can add more than $400 to a bill, the state can help thousands more low-income households with their heating costs this winter.
Through LIHEAP, a state- and federally-funded energy assistance program run by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, heating bill payments are made on behalf of households with incomes of up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level.  Gov. Blagojevich made LIHEAP funding available on September 1, 2005 to households with elderly or disabled members and those currently without home heating due to service disconnections to meet their winter heating needs. On November 1, all LIHEAP eligible households will be allowed to apply. 
A single-person household can qualify for LIHEAP with a monthly income of up to $1,196, a two-person household up to $1,604, and a family of four can earn up to $2,420.  Benefits are paid directly to the household’s appropriate utility.  The energy grant applications are processed through a network of 35 local administering agencies around the state.  These agencies accept applications on a first-come, first-served basis until funding for the program is exhausted.  The winter heating program is expected to reach 300,000 households this winter with an estimated $150 million in state and federal funding.
For a complete listing of LIHEAP’s local administrating agencies and additional information about the grant program, go to www.liheapillinois.com, or call the toll-free LIHEAP information line at 1-800-252-8643.
Earlier this month, the Governor released a schedule of Winter Assistance Days occurring across the state to offer members of low-income households the opportunity to apply for LIHEAP grants, receive free weatherization kits and learn about several state healthcare programs.
Schedule of Events
October 22, 2005
10:00a.m. - 1:00p.m.
Alderman Howard Brookins
Resurrection Lutheran Church
9349 S. Wentworth, Chicago
October 28, 2005
10:00 a.m-2:00 p.m.
City of Rockford
Department of Human Services
State of Illinois Building
200 S. Wyman Street
October 29, 2005
10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez
State Senator Cynthia Soto
Alderman Manuel Flores, 1st Ward
Alderman Billy Ocasio, 26th Ward Alderman Ariel Reboyras, 30th Ward
Wells High School
936 North Ashland, Chicago
November 19, 2005
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Cook County Commissioner
Deborah Sims
Ford Heights Community Service Assoc.
443 E. Lincoln Hwy, Ford Heights
November 2, 2005
Bloom Township and Rich Townships
November 4, 2005
Rainbow/Push Coalition
National Headquarters
930 East 50th Street, Chicago
November 5, 2005
Rainbow/Push Coalition
National Headquarters
930 East 50th Street, Chicago
November 9, 2005
9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
CEDA Site Manager
Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.
Southeast CEDA
3518 West 139th Street, Robbins
November 10 2005
Chicago Housing Authority
1550 W. 88th Street, Suite 2W
November 12, 2005
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.
Mayor Eric Kellogg
Harvey Community Center                
15320 Center Street, Harvey
November 15, 2005
Ron Jordan
Presbyterian Church of Palatine
800 E. Palatine Road, Palatine
November 15, 2005
Chicago Housing Authority
1402 N. Kedzie Avenue, Chicago
December 3, 2005
9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Congressman Danny Davis
Malcolm X College
1900 W Van Buren, Chicago
State Senator Reverend
James T. Meeks
*Church Members Only
Salem Baptist Church
11800 S. Indiana Avenue, Chicago


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