This heating season, many fuel dealers and customers are raising concerns about economic pressures related to COVID-19, inflation, supply chain issues, and other factors. Please know that NEFI shares your concerns and is there for you during these times of uncertainty. We have been in close contact with Congress, the White House, and relevant federal agencies regarding various ways our industry delivers relief to vulnerable communities and families in need.
In addition to a range of budgeting and price protection options, many liquid heating fuel dealers offer discounted fuel deliveries and equipment services through their state's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Heating fuel dealers should be aware that Congress has allocated an unprecedented $8.5 billion in LIHEAP funding to states through September 2022. This is more than double the average annual funding level.
NEFI encourages fuel dealers to participate in their state's LIHEAP program this winter, provide fuel delivery and equipment services to LIHEAP-approved households, and direct families in need to the state or local agency that administers their fuel assistance program. NEFI has launched a Heating Assistance resources page, where you can find phone numbers and other contact information for these agencies. Please proactively share this information with your existing customers and any distressed individuals who contact your company for help
We understand that in some states, fuel dealers have found LIHEAP administration to be less than ideal. They report significant delays to requests for reimbursement from state and local agencies. Where they exist, margin-over-rack or discount-off-retail pricing for LIHEAP beneficiaries may be insufficient to meet overhead costs. NEFI recently discussed these concerns with the White House.
Should your business encounter any issues with LIHEAP this winter, please bring them to the attention of NEFI and your state's heating fuel association, so we may raise these concerns in discussions with policymakers at the state and federal level.
CLICK HERE TO ACCESS NEFI'S HEATING ASSISTANCE WEB PAGE
"As the only national member-based trade association dedicated exclusively to the liquid heating fuel industry, NEFI is proud to work with the administration and our colleagues across the industry to ensure all resources are brought to bear to support American families this winter, particularly those experiencing the greatest need " said NEFI President & CEO Sean Cota. "Our Main Street family businesses care deeply about their customers and local communities and remain committed to ensure that no one is 'left out in the cold.'"