PNS Daily Newscast - January 27, 2020 

NBA legend Kobe Bryant dies in a helicopter crash with his daughter. And states work to make U.S. Census fair for people of color.

2020Talks - January 27, 2020 

Polls are back and forth, but frontrunners are emerging. So many Iowa voters, though, are still undecided, so anything could happen. Plus, Andrew Yang qualifies for NH debate.

High Energy Bills - Hazardous to Kids' Health?

January 29, 2007

How much you pay for energy can affect the well-being of your kids. That's the finding of a new study by the Children's Defense Fund of Minnesota. CDF Research Director Andi Egbert says Minnesota has an Energy Assistance Program for low-income families, but it is underfunded. This means thousands of Minnesota families must choose between paying high energy bills or providing adequate amounts of food, medicine, and other basic needs.

"Children whose families don't receive help paying their bills are more likely to be under-nourished, underweight, and, actually, even end up in the hospital."

The study found that, last year, 70 percent of eligible households got no assistance because funds ran out. Federal funding for the Energy Assistance Program was cut by ten percent this year. That, along with rising energy costs, forces families to juggle limited incomes and make difficult choices, in Minnesota and across the country.

"Only about one in five eligible households nationally is getting energy assistance. We really need to protect the children, the seniors, vulnerable populations in every way, from suffering medically from the uncertainly of winter bills."

Egbert says 134,000 households were enrolled in Minnesota's Energy Assistance Program in 2006, but twice that many were turned away for lack of funds, even though they qualified for help.

The study can be found online, Applications and information about Minnesota's Energy Assistance Program also are online, at

Jim Wishner/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - MN