President Clinton’s Radio Address to the Nation: Keeping the Heat and Lights On During Unusually Cold Weather
December 30, 2000
Today, President Clinton, in his radio address to the nation, will announce a series of steps to reduce the likelihood and severity of energy shortages to help Americans in what will likely be the coldest winter in several years. Unparalleled economic growth and cold weather have led to significant increases in the demand for energy. For instance, demand for electricity in California is up 13 percent from last year, largely in response to a growing economy. Yet power generation capacity has not kept up to that pace, and electricity supplies have tightened while prices have risen in the western United States. When combined with cold weather following three warmer than average winters in a row, the increased demand for energy to heat and power our homes and businesses has led to energy bills significantly larger than in recent winters. The Clinton Administration has been taking steps since last winter to meet this challenge, and is taking further steps reduce the risk of supply shortages and to ease the burden of energy prices on families and small businesses.
PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL RELEASE $300 MILLION IN LIHEAP EMERGENCY FUNDS IN RESPONSE TO HIGH HEATING FUEL PRICES: President Clinton will direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to release $300 million in Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) emergency funds to all States to assist low-income households facing substantial increases in home heating fuel prices. With this release of $300 million in LIHEAP emergency funds, the President will have directed HHS to release a total of $856 million in LIHEAP emergency funds since September to help States assist low-income households in coping with high fuel prices during this winter. In addition to this release, HHS released $156 million on December 18th and $400 million on September 23rd. The Department of Energy projects that heating oil prices this winter will be 29 percent higher than last winter, and natural gas prices will be 40 percent higher than last winter.
PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL ALSO ANNOUNCE 4 STEPS TO HELP AMERICANS DURING THE WINTER: The measures that President Clinton has already taken were critical steps towards preparing for cold weather and energy shortages with their accompanying high prices this winter. Following on their success, and in order to stay ahead of potential challenges, President Clinton is taking four additional steps to prepare for possible energy shortages during the cold months ahead.
- Keeping the Heating Fuels Distribution Systems Open: President Clinton will direct the Departments of Energy and Transportation to work together to ensure that the heating oil distribution system is not disrupted by inclement weather. For instance, the Coast Guard will keep open shipping channels that may freeze so that heating oil barges can make critical deliveries of heating oil to Northern ports. The Department of Energy Office of Energy Emergencies will coordinate closely with the Department of Transportation Emergency Transportation Representative to address any transportation problems as they arise in order to keep heating fuel moving through the distribution system to the consumer.
- Conserving Electricity at Federal Facilities: President Clinton will direct managers of all Federal buildings in the Pacific Northwest to join those in California to take steps to reduce consumption of power to the maximum extent practicable consistent with the health and welfare of employees. By expanding its conservation effort beyond California to Washington and Oregon, the Federal government can help ease possible electricity shortages and reduce the risk of power outages in homes and businesses on the West Coast.
- Keeping the Lights on in California: Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson extended an emergency order initially invoked on December 14th pursuant to the Federal Power Act to require generators and marketers to make power available to keep the lights on in California.
- Providing SBA Loans to Small Businesses Hurt by Rising Energy Costs: President Clinton will direct the Small Business Administration (SBA) to work with its lending partners to reach out to small businesses suffering from the burden of high energy costs. For qualified businesses, short-term and long-term loans will be available to cushion the impact of rising energy prices on these businesses. With an SBA-guaranteed loan, small businesses will have sufficient cash available to continue to meet their immediate energy needs. Additionally, these guaranteed loans will allow them to spread their energy payments over a longer period than the payment period typically provided by their vendors.
THESE ACTIONS BUILD ON THE SUCCESSFUL STRATEGIC PETROLEUM RESERVE EXCHANGE THAT INCREASED CRUDE OIL INVENTORIES: In September, President Clinton directed Secretary of Energy Richardson to initiate a 30 million barrel time exchange of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in order to prevent a supply crisis, that could have had a particularly harsh effect on home heating oil supplies in the Northeast. On September 20th, just prior to the announcement of the exchange, inventories were 21 million barrels below the same time last year. Since then, crude oil inventories had risen to last year’s levels. The improved inventory outlook is reflected in the lower price of crude oil, which has fallen from over $37 to under $27 per barrel. The heating oil inventory situation has also stabilized, with distillate production over the last four weeks 11 million barrels above the same period in 1999. As we enter winter following an unusually cold November and December, President Clinton’s SPR time-exchange has improved the crude oil inventories and the incentives for refiners to continue producing heating oil needed to heat homes and businesses this winter.
STATE BY STATE LIHEAP ALLOCATIONS: The state allocations of the LIHEAP release follow. These amounts include funds that will be provided directly to tribes in these states.
STATE and December 30 Allocation
Dist. of Col. $967,148
New Hampshire $2,406,536
New Jersey $12,678,060
New Mexico $1,598,317
New York $41,136,079
North Carolina $4,969,416
North Dakota $2,274,696
Rhode Island $2,247,960
South Carolina $1,803,859
South Dakota $1,913,717
West Virginia $2,447,391