U.S. Senate Holds Hearing On COVID-19’s Impact On The Energy Sector

Last week, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing titled: “Impacts of COVID-19 on the Energy Industry,” the purpose of which was to examine the damaging effects the health pandemic has had on the energy sector.

Witnesses at the hearing included: Mr. Stephen Nalley (Deputy Administrator, U.S. Energy Information Administration); Mr. David Turk (Acting Deputy Executive Director, International Energy Agency); Ms. Lisa Jacobson (President, Business Council for Sustainable Energy); Mr. Frank J. Macchiarola (Senior Vice President of Policy, Economics and Regulatory Affairs, American Petroleum Institute) and Ms. Jackie Roberts (President, National Association of State Utility Advocates).

Frank Macchiarola with API spoke about the challenges the oil industry has faced during the health pandemic, saying, “While the recent lifting of stay-at-home policies designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus has resulted in increased petroleum demand and a stabilization in the markets, difficulties persist. In particular, uncertainty remains as to the speed and scope of the recovery in transportation and thus the outlook for jet fuel and gasoline demand. We remain confident that economic recovery and oil demand are inextricably linked, and we see signs of recovery and demand increases continuing into the second half of 2020.”

He continued, saying, ”Our industry remains resilient in the face of these challenges and we are committed to providing the affordable, reliable and cleaner energy that people need to sustain everyday life, enhance standards of living and increase prosperity around the world.”

Meanwhile, Jackie Roberts, president of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates, told members that more Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is needed to pay consumer heating and cooling bills because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

This would be in addition to the $900 million in new funding for the LIHEAP that passed as part of the CARES Act in March.

Mr. Roberts reported that assistance is needed for customers who typically make too much money to qualify for LIHEAP but are now out of work. Provisions in the “Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act,” include an additional $1.5 billion in funding for LIHEAP. PMAA is a member of the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC) that is urging Congress to pass additional funds for LIHEAP to help the millions more households that will be affected by COVID-19.

            Click Here to watch a video of the hearing and for written testimony.

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