Entergy Announces New Bill Assistance Program

NEW ORLEANS – Total Community Action Inc. and Louisiana Housing Corporation in partnership with Entergy New Orleans will launch Total Power, an innovative pilot program designed to protect and support the most vulnerable customers in New Orleans, by linking the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program with energy education and conservation, and with TCA’s self-sufficiency case management model.

Total Power provides LIHEAP eligible households with a monthly energy subsidy and other supportive services designed to reduce their total housing burden and support their economic security. Households will receive a monthly supplement from LIHEAP while participating in financial coaching, job training and energy efficiency education.

LIHEAP is a federal block grant that helps ease home energy costs for 17 million Americans and prioritizes vulnerable populations, including the elderly, disabled individuals and families with children under the age of five.

“Our mission at TCA is to reduce poverty in our community through collaboration with other agencies and by providing human services, experiences and opportunities that move persons from poverty to self-sufficiency,” stated Thelma French, TCA president and CEO. “The Total Power pilot provides TCA yet another opportunity to be catalyst for change in our community.”

“At Entergy, finding lasting solutions for our customers in need is a moral obligation and business imperative,” said David Ellis, Entergy New Orleans president and CEO. “Thanks to this innovative partnership with Total Community Action and Louisiana Housing Corporation, Total Power will reinvent the use of LIHEAP federal assistance dollars to help lift New Orleans families out of poverty and into self-sufficiency.”

Total Community Action and Entergy New Orleans have worked with partners at the federal, state and local level for decades to ensure that underserved families will not have to sacrifice air conditioning during the hot summer or heating during the winter. In 2018, Congress increased resources for LIHEAP growing the program by $300 million and the U.S. House of Representatives voted to boost funding over the summer.

“I’m pleased to see the transformation of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program in New Orleans,” said Congressman Cedric Richmond. “By leveraging LIHEAP’s targeted relief strategy, this partnership between Total Community Action, Louisiana Housing Corporation and Entergy New Orleans is an important first step to help ensure lower utility bills for my hardworking constituents who struggle to make ends meet. No family should ever be faced with deciding what bills to pay each month. I am proud to have played a role throughout my tenure in Congress in securing federal funds needed to enable LIHEAPs advancement and will remain committed to helping uplift New Orleans families from financial hardship.”

The Total Power model is based on Michigan’s successful energy affordability model, DTE Low Income Self-Sufficiency Plan. Thanks to the approval of Louisiana Housing Corporation, the program will leverage community partnerships and energy efficiency resources to help households manage energy usage and improve financial stability.

“We created this initiative to provide an opportunity for families to enhance the financial stability while improving the efficiency of their home,” said E. Keith Cunningham Jr., Louisiana Housing Corporation executive director. “This effort serves as our first step toward creating solutions that serve as an extension of energy assistance services, and we’re looking forward to furthering our partnership with Entergy and TCA.”

Total Community Action has targeted most LIHEAP eligible vulnerable populations, inclusive of low-income working asset constrained households. Participants in the pilot must pay their bills on time each month and adhere to monthly energy usage guidelines. If a participant has a past due amount on his or her bill at the time of enrollment, it will be reduced quarterly while the participant is enrolled. For example, if a customer initially owes $600, their outstanding past due amount will be reduced by $75 every quarter until the participant meets on-time bill payment and usage limits.

The first cohort of the Total Power pilot officially launched Dec. 12. The organizations plan to support 250 households over the next two years.

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