News Release

For Release:
February 15, 2017

Contact: Kristine Johnson
(804) 768-6418
(804) 332-3004 - cellular
kmjohnson@nisource.com

Columbia Gas of Virginia advocates for those in need
Low-income families benefit from advocacy work in D.C.

Chester, VA – February 15, 2017 - Columbia Gas of Virginia joined other utilities, local community action agencies and community advocates today in Washington D.C., to support low-income families with energy costs, through advocacy for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

LIHEAP is a federal program created in 1981 to help customers with low incomes and who devote a large portion of their income to home energy costs. During the 2015-2106 program year, more than 3,200 Columbia Gas of Virginia customers received an average of $306 to assist paying their natural gas bill. While the LIHEAP gave critical assistance to those 3,200 customers, only 13.25 percent of the eligible customers who could benefit from LIHEAP received assistance.

LIHEAP is not an entitlement program, in that it does not receive increased funding as need increases. Rather, funding must be approved annually by Congress. In addition, LIHEAP funding is 100 percent directly dedicated to providing energy assistance. Today, LIHEAP advocates asked Congress to increase funding for the program, which has been reduced by more than one-third since 2009.

“LIHEAP is an important lifeline for many across Virginia who devote as much as a third of their monthly income to home energy costs,” said Brent Archer, President, Columbia Gas of Virginia. “Today, less than two of every 10 eligible households in Virginia are served through the program, so it is critical to raise the awareness of members of Congress in advance of the upcoming budget discussions.”

About Columbia Gas of Virginia

Columbia Gas of Virginia delivers safe, reliable and clean natural gas to over 262,000 customers in portions of Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, suburban Richmond, Central Virginia, Shenandoah Valley, Lynchburg region and Western Virginia. With headquarters in Chesterfield County, the company is one of the 7 energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) serving 3.8 million natural gas and electric customers. Always call 811 before you dig and Dig with CARE. Learn more at www.ColumbiaGasVa.com.