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Archive: Oct 2020

$25 Million Available to Assist WV Residents with COVID Related Utility Bill Delinquencies

Posted on: October 26, 2020

Below is a press release by the Public Service Commission of West Virginia published on October 21, 2020.

 

CHARLESTON, WV – Governor Jim Justice today announced that $25 million of the CARES Act Relief Fund has been allocated to assist qualifying West Virginians who, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are struggling to pay their utility bills. Customers of electric, natural gas, water and sewer utility companies who have experienced economic hardship and/or uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic causing them to have unpaid utility bills from the period of March 1 – July 31 of this year, may receive financial assistance to pay those bills.

West Virginia residential customers who qualify for these funds will be receiving letters with an application from their utility companies in the next few days. Customers must complete and return the application to either their utility company or the Dollar Energy Fund no later than Thursday, November 12, 2020. Past due balances for bills issued before or after the eligible period, or not related to a COVID-19 related event (such as job loss), are not eligible for payment through this grant program.

“We appreciate Governor Justice recognizing the dilemma in which thousands of West Virginians are finding themselves,” stated PSC Chairman Charlotte Lane. “$25 million will make a huge difference to struggling families across West Virginia. My fellow Commissioners and I would like to thank the utility Companies for voluntarily not terminating customers during this difficult time brought about by COVID-19.”

Public service districts and municipal utilities will be working with their local Regional Planning and Development Councils, the West Virginia Rural Water Association and the West Virginia Municipal League on this grant process. All monies provided though the CARES Act Relief Fund must be spent by December 30, 2020.

Year in Review: 2019-2020

Posted on: October 15, 2020

Dollar Energy Fund kicked off a new program year on October 1, 2020. 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 essential work for more than 37 years. Here are some highlights from the 2019-2020 program year (October 2019 – September 2020):

October

  • 2019-2020Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania and Dollar Energy Fund teamed up to host our second Topgolf Fundraiser. The event raised $14,770, including a dollar-for-dollar match by Columbia, to benefit customers in need. This amount provided much-needed heating assistance to approximately 50 households.
  • Our director of programs, Mary Sally, discussed the Hardship Program and our partnership with Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority at the Pittsburgh #BeUtilityWise conference in October.

November

  • 2019-2020Dollar Energy Fund hosted its 3rd annual Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon at iHeartMedia studios and broadcasted on 3WS Pittsburgh. The event raised $109,869 to provide utility assistance to approximately 915 Pittsburgh neighbors who were struggling to stay warm.
  • Dollar Energy Fund was the presenting sponsor and benefiting charity of Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland for the third 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.
  • Dollar Energy Fund participated in #GiveBigPittsburgh, an online giving day hosted by the Pittsburgh Magazine on Giving Tuesday. With your generosity and a match from our utility partners, we raised $3,400 for Pittsburgh families in need.

January

  • 2019-2020In January, Dollar Energy Fund raised more than $315,000 during its 6th annual Cool Down for Warmth event in Market Square. The amount raised gave assistance to approximately 877 Pittsburgh families and individuals who were struggling to afford safe utility service.
  • During Cool Down for Warmth, we hosted our 4th annual Bowls for Warmth Soup Tasting, presented by BNY Mellon. Twenty local restaurants showed up to support Dollar Energy Fund and serve cups of soup to the lunchtime crowd. Bowls for Warmth raised an additional $25,000 in two days, including a match from our utility partners.

February

  • 2019-2020In February, Dollar Energy Fund’s 12th annual Warmathon on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA raised $170,000, which provided utility assistance grants to 475 Pittsburgh-area households.

March

  • At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dollar Energy Fund took steps to ensure our Hardship Program continues. We adjusted quickly to limited staff resources and remote workforce arrangements. We also initiated measures to ensure the continuity of the other services we provide, including enrollments in Customer Assistance Programs.

May

  • In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, utility companies are committed to working with consumers who are struggling to afford basic utility service. Dollar Energy Fund started contracts with two new utility partners – Omaha Public Power District and Metropolitan Utilities District in Nebraska. These new partnerships expanded our service territory to 14 states.
  • Dollar Energy Fund participated in The Pittsburgh Foundation’s #GiveBigPittsburgh COVID-19 Response online giving campaign on May 5, 2020. With a match from our generous utility partners, we raised $4,600 for local families.
  • Peoples Natural Gas teamed up with Dollar Energy Fund for a Facebook #HelpYourNeighbor Livathon to raise funds to provide critical utility assistance for our neighbors struggling during the pandemic. With a match from Peoples, the virtual event raised $2,170 for customers in need.
  • Dollar Energy Fund participated in the Omaha Gives campaign to provide critical relief to Nebraska families in need through Omaha Public Power District’s Energy Assistance Program and Metropolitan Utilities District’s Home Fund.

August

  • Dollar Energy Fund earned its fourth 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 participated in the #ONEDAY Critical Needs Alert on August 19, 2020.
  • Through its Coronavirus Aid Relief Fund allocation under the CARES Act, the State of Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and Douglas County have allocated a portion of those funds to provide utility assistance to customers of Metropolitan Utilities District and Omaha Public Power District who are struggling to afford their bills as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dollar Energy Fund is currently administering these funds.

September

  • In September, we welcomed 14 foursomes at Quicksilver Golf Club for our 12th annual Golf Classic. This event is a fan favorite, featuring 18-holes of golf, our famous Bloody Mary Bar, a delicious lunch and more. The online silent auction raised over $1,400 in donations.
  • Most importantly, Dollar Energy Fund distributed 27,215 grants, totaling more than $8.78 million across the country during the 2019-2020 program year.
  • Since 1983, we have assisted more than 593,000 households by distributing $165 million in utility assistance nationwide.

With your help, we can continue to provide immediate and direct assistance during our 2020-2021 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, follow us on social media to stay up-to-date on our winter fundraising campaigns. On behalf of the many individuals, seniors and families we help, thank you for your continued support!

Grant Applications Now Being Accepted for 2020-2021 Program Year

Posted on: October 1, 2020

Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program, a utility assistance program providing grants for limited-income households, opened today for its 2020-2021 program year and is now accepting applications from customers in need of help with their gas, water, electric and sewer bills. New this year, special exceptions will be offered by several of the organization’s utility partners to extend assistance to those impacted by COVID-19.

Dollar Energy Fund provides grants to households facing an immediate utility crisis and funding is applied directly to their utility account to prevent a termination or to restore their service. This program is a fund of last resort, as it goes above and beyond what is available through federal, state and other programs.

“Our Hardship Program is a lifeline for households who are experiencing a financial crisis,” said Chad Quinn, Dollar Energy Fund’s Chief Executive Officer. “In the time of COVID-19, and with many workers experiencing a partial or total loss of income, we know that more and more families are struggling to afford their monthly utility bills. We’ve been working with our utility partners to adjust our program guidelines as necessary to ensure those in our community who are the most vulnerable are able to qualify for this much-needed assistance.”

Grant funding applications are currently being accepted for customers of the following utilities:

Arkansas:

SWEPCO

California:

California Water Service Company

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)

Connecticut:

South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority

Indiana:

Indianapolis Power & Light Company

Kentucky:

Kentucky American Water

Louisiana:

SWEPCO

Maryland:

Columbia Gas of Maryland

Maryland American Water

Nebraska:

Metropolitan Utilities District

Omaha Public Power District

Pennsylvania:

ALCOSAN

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

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority

Valley Energy

Wellsboro Electric

West Penn Power, a FirstEnergy Company

West View Water Authority

Tennessee:

Kingsport Power Company

Texas:

SWEPCO

Virginia:

Appalachian Power Company

Columbia Gas of Virginia

Old Dominion Power Company

Virginia American Water Company, Inc.

West Virginia:

Appalachian Power Company

Dominion Energy West Virginia

Mon Power, a FirstEnergy Company

Mountaineer Gas

Peoples Gas

Potomac Edison, a FirstEnergy Company

West Virginia American Water

 

On November 1, 2020, assistance programs will open for customers of Indiana Michigan Power in Indiana and AEP Ohio.

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. The guidelines to qualify for assistance have been modified for customers of some utilities in response to COVID-19. 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 from a local nonprofit agency that may also be available to limited-income households, such as food, childcare and career assistance. Contact-less application may be available upon request.

“One thing we can’t stress enough is the importance of reaching out for help as soon as you need it,” said Chad Quinn, Dollar Energy Fund’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our program is a resource for those in need, and we encourage those who are struggling to take the first step and reach out. There are several options available to ensure utility customers are able to maintain utility service as we approach the winter heating season.”

Eligibility guidelines vary by utility and are subject to change at any time. Full eligibility guidelines and application instructions can be found by clicking below.

Dollar Energy Fund is a national leader in utility assistance. Since 1983, Dollar Energy Fund’s hardship grants have helped more than 586,000 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 $163 million in utility assistance grants to more than 586,000 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, Indiana and Nebraska. 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.

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Average Monthly Income of a Grant Recipient = $1,102.62