To offset sky-high utility bills from cranked-up air conditioning in low-income ratepayers' homes during the heat wave, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Senator Dianne Feinstein asked the president to infuse $100 million into an energy-assistance program. In a joint August 2 letter to President George W. Bush, the politicians pointed to the emergency contingency fund as a means of beefing up the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program "to help thousands of Californians who are struggling with record-setting temperatures and energy usage, as well as soaring energy bills." "Unfortunately, we expect the demand for energy assistance to continue to spike as the summer progresses," Feinstein and the governor added. The fund will also face growing competition in the short term from other regions, as much of the Midwest and East Coast suffered an unprecedented heat wave and peak demand this week. Also this week, Pacific Gas & Electric announced that it will expand its payment assistance programs for low-income ratepayers hit with higher utility bills because of increased energy use during the late-July heat wave. The utility said it was adding $100,000 to its Relief for Energy Assistance Through Community Help program and making "more flexible payment arrangements" available.