August 12, 2011 7:09 PM

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Poor hit the hardest by Texas heat, legislature

By
Mark Strassmann

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(CBS News)

DALLAS – The temperature in Dallas today hit triple-digits. Over the past two months, it’s done that 41 times in 42 days.

CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann reports Texas has a fund to help the poor pay their electricity bills. But somewhere between the fund and the people who need it, the money hit a short circuit.

In scorching Dallas, overheated seniors sought relief at an air conditioned Catholic charities center. Mary Ann Torres was also looking for financial relief. She can’t afford to power the two window air conditioners that struggle to keep her house bearable.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had it this hot before,” Torres says. On a fixed monthly income of $791 her electric bill can top $200.

There is a Texas program to help people like Torres. Every month most Texans are required to pay an extra dollar for their power bill. That money, about $146 million this year, is supposed to go to utilities to lower electricty bills for the poor. But this year the Lite-Up Texas program will release just $66 million. The state treasury is keeping the rest.

Find the full article at CBSNews