Illinois shelves cooling assistance program

Illinois shelves cooling assistance program

(KFVS/AP) - Widespread heat advisories covered the heartland for much of the day on Sunday, and for many families in Illinois keeping cool isn't as simple as reaching for the thermostat.

More than 50,000 families across the state have had financial assistance to keep their lights and A/C running in recent years thanks to the Percentage of Income Payment Plan according to the Illinois commerce department.

The $60-million program is not available as of 2015, as lawmakers in Springfield attempt to form a balanced budget.

Ziegler Assistant Fire Chief Richard Good says on days like Sunday which saw a 105 degree heat index, He responds to a great deal of calls in Williamson Co. related to heat cramps, exhaustion, and heat stroke.

"human nature, is people are going to do what they have to do throughout the day." Good explained, "a lot of times heat exhaustion strikes the workers that have to work in it. Firefighters paramedics, police officers, construction workers,"

He said the best way to prepare is to anticipate dangerous temperatures.

"Water is important, breaks are important. If you don't have AC, just a fan itself will reduce the temperature 10-15 degrees, so that's pretty instrumental." Good explained

The Illinois Legislature unanimously approved a one-month stop-gap spending plan on Wednesday, which now requires the governor's signature.

The Illinois Department of Commerce encourages anyone struggling with energy bills to contact their provider and ask about payment plans or discount options.

If your home is not air conditioned, you can find a full list of cooling centers in the Heartland here.

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