Facing a big drop in federal money to help poor people keep their power on, the state of Illinois decided earlier this year to use the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program only in winter this year.
That's leaving potentially tens of thousands of people without extra money to keep their power on or get it reconnected during a devastating heat wave.
Spokeswoman Marcelyn Love says the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity had little choice. Otherwise it might have run out of money during a brutal Illinois winter.
That doesn't comfort people like Cynthia Littlefield of Paxton. She's unemployed and her family has a $198 electricity bill from Ameren it can't pay.
Ameren spokesman Leigh Morris says the utility won't turn off power for non-payment during heat advisories.