In many parts of the nation, this has been an exceptionally cold winter. Even here, in what is supposed to be sunny Southern California, the sun seems to have gone the way of Conan's NBC contract. It has been rainy and windy and very cold (by L.A. standards, you understand!).
To help low income families pay their heating bills, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has just released $490 million in emergency funding to states to be used for energy assistance.
The money is in addition to the basic funding (LIHEAP -- or, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program) that all states get automatically. In fact, the government released $2.6 billion back in October and another $1.2 billion just last week.