On Halloween, it’s likely you have vampires lurking around your home. Not only the kind that ask for treats, but “energy vampires” that suck the money from your wallet. Our home’s appliances and electronics — from coffee makers to TV’s and gaming consoles — often suck up power even when they are not being used. Some products can even consume as much as 25% of their full power when turned off. This wasted energy can contribute to high electric bills.
Be aware of the most common energy vampires:
Most kids keep their video game consoles, like PlayStation and Xbox, always plugged in, making them easily accessible for quick gaming. The scary part is that these consoles are still draining power, even while sleeping.
Toaster & Coffee Maker
Most of us only use our toaster or coffee maker for a few minutes each morning, but we keep it plugged in at all times. Toasters, microwaves, and other small kitchen appliances can quickly add unused energy to your bill and become costly. When you add up all the time your microwave spends in “standby” mode, it actually consumes more electricity powering its digital clock than it does heating food.
The cable box and DVR are some of the most well-known energy vampires. These boxes are always on to record shows and still operate at nearly full capacity, without providing any benefit. It’s like leaving the lights on in a totally empty house.
Remember, anything with a LED display is a vampire! Alarm clocks, cell phone chargers, as well as space heaters and air conditioning units are still costing you money when unused.
Unused energy can account for 10 percent or more of your electricity bill. Stop energy vampires from taking a bite out of your wallet by taking these steps:
1. Unplug devices you don’t use daily. For instance, check electronics in the guest bedroom or a second fridge in the garage that is rarely used.
2. Unplug devices that are fully charged, such as electric razors and power tools.
3. Unplugging everything is unrealistic. Instead, use smart power strips with on/off switches to easily turn groups of electronics off when not in use, effectively reducing unnecessary electricity consumption and saving money. This is an inexpensive and easy solution. When you’re ready, turn the power strip on and all your appliances are ready to go!
4. Upgrade to ENERGY STAR appliances and electronics, which are vampire-proof. ENERGY STAR has made it their mission to cut standby power consumption in its products and use less energy all around.
Dollar Energy Fund’s Topgolf Fundraiser raised $14,770, including a dollar-for-dollar match from Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, to benefit customers in need. The amount raised will provide gas assistance to approximately 50 households who are struggling to stay warm this winter.
We welcomed 80 golfers to Topgolf Pittsburgh in Bridgeville, PA on Thursday, October 24, 2019. The day started at 1 p.m. with registration. Golfers quickly set out to their bays to begin play. The staff at Topgolf worked diligently to provide golfers with drinks and instructions on how to play a variety of Topgolf games. Guests also enjoyed a delicious lunch buffet, networked with friends and bid in the online silent auction. All golfers went home with their own bottle of wine from VentiSei Winery.
At Dollar Energy Fund, we always encourage our supporters to have fun while raising money for families and individuals who are on their path to self-sufficiency. Stay tuned for future events by following us on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for our monthly newsletter. You can always support your neighbors in need by making a donation at dollarenergy.org.
Dollar Energy Fund kicks off a new program year this week. Before we move on to the excitement of a new year, let’s take a moment to remember the accomplishments we shared together this past year. Our success would not be possible without the constant support from all of our partners, agencies, donors, staff, board members, community leaders, businesses and more. By sharing Dollar Energy Fund’s dedication and passion for helping your neighbors in need, you have allowed us to continue our work for more than 36 years. Here are some highlights from the 2018-2019 program year (October 2018 – September 2019):
In November, the 10th annual Warm Your Hearth, Touch a Heart Campaign kicked off with a reception at Hearth and Home Furnishings in Zelienople. Efforts to date have brought our ten-year total to more than $160,000, including a generous match from Peoples, to assist gas customers throughout Butler County.
Dollar Energy Fund was the presenting sponsor and benefiting charity of Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland for the second year in a row. Shadrack’s made a generous donation of $20,000 to Dollar Energy Fund. Through a partnership with Chick-fil-A, coupons were distributed to customers to receive $2 off admission. Dollar Energy Fund received $1 donation for every coupon redeemed. These efforts resulted in utility assistance for 115 local families.
Dollar Energy Fund hosted its 2nd annual Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon at iHeartMedia studios and broadcasted on 3WS Pittsburgh. The event raised $93,872 to provide utility assistance to approximately 260 Pittsburgh families who were struggling to stay warm.
Duquesne Light Company supported Dollar Energy Fund during its Power It Forward campaign through a ’12 days of giving’ fundraiser and text-to-give campaign for Pittsburghers in need.
Dollar Energy Fund participated in #GiveBigPittsburgh, an online giving day hosted by the Pittsburgh Magazine on Giving Tuesday.
Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania and Dollar Energy Fund teamed up to host our first ever Topgolf Fundraiser in November. The event raised $12,210, including a dollar-for-dollar match by Columbia, to benefit customers in need. This amount provided much-needed heating assistance to approximately 35 households this winter.
In December, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania hosted a fundraiser in partnership with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. A portion of every Pittsburgh ticket sold was donated to Dollar Energy Fund, totaling more than $11,200.
In January, Dollar Energy Fund raised more than $156,000 during its 5th annual Cool Down for Warmth event in Market Square. The amount raised gave assistance to approximately 450 Pittsburgh families and individuals who were struggling to afford safe utility service.
During Cool Down for Warmth, we hosted our 3rd annual Bowls for Warmth Soup Tasting, presented by BNY Mellon. Twenty-one local restaurants showed up to support Dollar Energy Fund and serve cups of soup to the lunchtime crowd. Bowls for Warmth raised over $10,000 in two days, including a match from our utility partners.
In February, Dollar Energy Fund’s 11th annual Warmathon on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA raised $155,000, which provided utility assistance grants to 430 Pittsburgh-area households.
Through our partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins, we hosted a variety of fundraisers this season to expand our reach and awareness in the community. Our Jerseys for Warmth Auction raised more than $53,000 to benefit Peoples Natural Gas customers in need. In March, our Fan Appreciation Night Raffle raised nearly $8,000, including a match from our utility partners.
Dollar Energy Fund was an exhibitor in this year’s CS Week Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. We shared our solutions and experience on managing low-income utility assistance programs with other industry professionals across the country.
In partnership with Appalachian Power Company in Virginia, Dollar Energy Fund hosted its second annual fishing tournament, Fishing for a Cause. We welcomed 40 boats to Smith Mountain Lake and the event raised nearly $20,000 to assist limited-income customers maintain or restore basic electric service through our Virginia Neighbor to Neighbor Program.
Dollar Energy Fund participated in The Pittsburgh Foundation’s #ONEDAY Critical Needs Alert online giving event on May 7, 2019.
Several members of Dollar Energy Fund’s staff and management team attended the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC) 2019 Annual Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.
In June, we welcomed 26 foursomes and more than 100 guests at Quicksilver Golf Club for our 11th annual Golf Classic. This event is a fan favorite, featuring 18-holes of golf, our famous Bloody Mary Bar, a delicious lunch and more.
During the Golf Classic, Dollar Energy Fund hosted its first online silent auction. This auction raised over $2,500 for our local neighbors in need.
Dollar Energy Fund earned its third consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of charitable organizations. This is the highest possible rating and shows our commitment to financial accountability and transparency.
Dollar Energy Fund has been working hard to provide utility customers with a quick and easy way to recertify for PCAP. In July, Dollar Energy Fund sent a text message to 2,200 FirstEnergy customers regarding their PCAP status. This method of communication served as a quick and easy way for customers to complete some or all of the recertification process for their account through text messaging.
Dollar Energy Fund celebrated National Popsicle Day on August 26, 2019, by passing out popsicles in downtown Pittsburgh to raise awareness on the need for utility assistance in our region.
Once again this season, Dollar Energy Fund continues its partnership with Pitt Athletics by sponsoring the Pat Narduzzi Show. We are giving away a weekly VIP package to the show to those who like or follow us on social media. The contest will run until November 27, 2019.
In September, we joined our partners in celebration at Rivers Casino for our 36th Annual Luncheon. We gathered with approximately 180 guests to honor the utility partners, employees, community organizations and leaders who worked diligently this year to bring Dollar Energy Fund’s mission to life.
Dollar Energy Fund celebrated milestone years of partnership with the following utility companies:
Citizens’ Electric Company – 20 years of partnership
Wellsboro Electric – 20 years of partnership
AEP Ohio – 10 years of partnership
Kingsport Power Company – 10 years of partnership
Appalachian Power Virginia – 10 years of partnership
California Water Service Company – 5 years of partnership
Kentucky American Water – 5 years of partnership
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Peoples Natural Gas teamed up for another season of helping others. The 2019 Bringing the Heat campaign raised $34,600 for local families in need of utility assistance this winter.
This year, Dollar Energy Fund started contracts with many new utility partners. We now administer programs for Pacific Gas & Electric, West View Water Authority, Maryland American Water, Indiana Michigan Power, and Indianapolis Power & Light Company. These new partnerships expanded our service territory to 13 states.
Most importantly, Dollar Energy Fund has distributed over 22,195 grants, totaling more than $6.3 million across the country since October 1, 2018.
Since 1983, we have assisted 562,000 households by distributing $155 million in utility assistance nationwide.
With your help, we can continue to provide immediate and direct assistance during our 2019-2020 program year. Your contribution, no matter how big or small, can make an extraordinary impact by ensuring local, limited-income families maintain or restore safe utility service and get on a path to self-sufficiency. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation before the end of the calendar year. If you would like to get involved during this program year, subscribe to our email newsletters to stay up-to-date on our latest fundraising campaigns.
On behalf of the many individuals, seniors and families we help, thank you for your continued support!
Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program, a utility assistance program providing grants for limited-income households, opened its 2019-2020 program year on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, and is accepting applications from customers in need of help with their gas, water, electric and sewer bills.
Dollar Energy Fund provides one-time grants to households facing an immediate utility crisis. With help from the program, families in need can receive up to $500 in grant funding that’s applied directly to their utility account to prevent a termination or to restore their service. Households may be eligible to receive one grant for each of their utilities per program year. This program is a fund of last resort, as it goes above and beyond what is available through federal, state and other programs.
“A grant from our Hardship Program allows many of our neighbors in need to maintain or restore basic and safe utility service,” said Chad Quinn, Dollar Energy Fund’s Chief Executive Officer. “As we enter into the start of our program year, our goal is to be a resource for the individuals, senior citizens and families who are struggling to afford the costs of their utility bills. The availability of assistance is especially important as we get closer to the winter heating season because it provides a way for families, many of whom have children, to stay warm in their homes during the coldest months.”
Grant funding applications are currently being accepted for customers of the following utilities:
California Water Service Company
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)
South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority
Indianapolis Power & Light Company
Kentucky American Water
Columbia Gas of Maryland
Maryland American Water
Citizens’ Electric Company
Clairton Municipal Authority
Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania
Duquesne Light Company
Met-Ed, a FirstEnergy Company
Penelec, a FirstEnergy Company
Penn Power, a FirstEnergy Company
Pennsylvania American Water
Peoples Natural Gas
Peoples Gas Company, LLC (formerly Peoples TWP)
Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority
West Penn Power, a FirstEnergy Company
West View Water Authority
Columbia Gas of Virginia
Old Dominion Power Company
Virginia American Water Company, Inc.
Dominion Energy West Virginia
Mon Power, a FirstEnergy Company
Potomac Edison, a FirstEnergy Company
West Virginia American Water
On November 1, 2019, assistance programs will open for customers of Indiana Michigan Power in Indiana. On December 2, 2019, assistance programs will open for customers of AEP Ohio, Appalachian Power Company in West Virginia and Virginia, and Kingsport Power Company in Tennessee.
Applications for most programs will continue to be accepted on a first come, first served basis through September 30, 2020, or until funds are depleted. Those seeking help should first contact their utility company for eligibility screening and to be referred to a community based agency for assistance with Dollar Energy Fund’s application process. This approach connects households with additional services that may also be available to limited-income households, such as food, childcare and career assistance.
Dollar Energy Fund is a national leader in utility assistance. Since 1983, Dollar Energy Fund’s hardship grants have helped more than 562,000 families maintain or restore safe utility services.
Dollar Energy Fund is funded by public contributions that are matched dollar for dollar by partnering utility companies. Utility customers are also able to contribute a dollar or more to Dollar Energy Fund through their monthly utility bill. Direct donations can be made online at www.dollarenergy.org/donate or by sending a check to Box 42329, Pittsburgh, PA 15203. Every donation to Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program is tax deductible and additional support from the utility companies allows for 100 percent of all donations and matching funds to be used as assistance grants to help households in need.
For more information about Dollar Energy Fund and how to apply for a grant from the Hardship Program, or to make a donation to the organization, visit www.dollarenergy.org.
About Dollar Energy Fund, Inc.
Dollar Energy fund was founded in 1983 and has grown to become the largest hardship fund in Pennsylvania and one of the largest programs of its kind in the United States. Dollar Energy Fund is a 501 (c) 3 organization in the state of Pennsylvania. Since 1983, the organization has provided $155 million in utility assistance grants to more than 562,000 limited-income families and individuals. The organization also assists limited-income households in West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, California, Connecticut and Indiana. Individuals interested in contributing to Dollar Energy Fund can do so through their utility bills, by sending donations directly to Box 42329, Pittsburgh, PA 15203 or through the organization’s website. Additional information can be found on Dollar Energy Fund’s website, www.dollarenergy.org.