SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Paul Faraci advanced legislation to extend the Energy Assistance Act, which provides low-income households with financial assistance on utility bills.

“Every resident in our state should have access to essential services,” said Faraci (D-Champaign). “The ability to heat or cool your home should be a fundamental right, not a privilege.”

Faraci’s measure would eliminate the scheduled sunset date on a state fund that finances two needs-based assistance programs – the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP). The fund was set to shut down Jan. 1, 2025.

LIHEAP and PIPP offer bill payment assistance to low-income residential utility customers by helping eligible households pay for home energy services. Both assistance programs are administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.

“As our community continues to deal with ongoing inflation and the rising cost of living, I think it’s necessary that we extend this program,” said Faraci. “People who live in Illinois deserve to live with dignity.”

House Bill 4471 passed the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee on Thursday and advances to the full Senate for consideration.