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Giving Tuesday – December 1st

Posted on: November 30, 2020

 

Now that you’ve survived Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s time to kick off the charitable season by making a donation on Giving Tuesday. A donation to Dollar Energy Fund is a great way to maximize your charitable dollars. There are many ways to support Dollar Energy Fund on Giving Tuesday. Here are some suggestions on how you can help local families maintain or restore basic utility service this holiday season:

Dollar Energy Fund will be participating in #GiveBigPittsburgh on Giving Tuesday. #GiveBigPittsburgh is a 24-hour online fundraising effort, hosted by Pittsburgh Magazine, and offers nonprofits the chance to raise funds to support their critical missions. Please visit our Give Big Pittsburgh profile page to make your contribution. Every donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar by our partnering Pennsylvania utility companies and 100% of all funds will be used to provide utility assistance grants to local neighbors in need.

 

In partnership with Metropolitan Utilities District and Omaha Public Power District, Dollar Energy Fund is participating in Share Omaha for Giving Tuesday. Visit our Share Omaha profile page and make a contribution to help Nebraska neighbors in need. 100% of funds raised will be used to provide utility assistance to MUD and OPPD customers in need.

 

Make a General Donation Online

Make your contribution to Dollar Energy Fund through our secure, web-based donation portal via credit card.

 

Check the Box

Check the Box on your monthly utility bill. Simply check the box on your utility bill to add a donation of $1 or more to your monthly bill. The donation is automatically added and allows you to continue to make a difference throughout the year as you make your payments. As more and more people are opting out of paper bills, we’ve made it easy for you to sign up online via our virtual Check the Box website.

 

Join an Event

We are currently raising funds for our upcoming event, Cool Down For Warmth, which will be held virtually on KDKA-TV on January 28 & 29, 2021. If you would like to participate in the event as a fundraiser, visit www.dollarenergy.org/cooldownforwarmth2021.

Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon Raises $135,664

Posted on: November 20, 2020

Through the combined effort of 3WS Pittsburgh and our supporters, the Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon raised $135,664 to benefit Dollar Energy Fund and our neighbors in need. The amount raised will provide utility assistance to more than 377 Pittsburgh families (1,131 neighbors) during this cold winter.

Our fourth Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon took place on November 18 and 19, 2020. 94.5 3WS and Dollar Energy Fund teamed up to bring the community a fun way to help families in our region stay warm. Over the course of the two-day event, 3WS listeners took over the station with their song requests. In exchange for a donation, listeners could request any song with the on-air talent Jonny Hartwell, Bonny Diver, Tall Cathy, and Mike Frazer. A variety of donation incentives were also available during the event, such as free turkeys, gift certificates, and a new furnace!

The success of our Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon event would not have been possible without our generous sponsors, including Citizens Bank, First Commonwealth Bank, Ganley Toyota, 84 Lumber, First National Bank, Metropolitan Window Company, CW Electrical Services, Chaffin Luhana, Chip’s Dental, Flynn’s Tire & Auto ServiceThe Meadows Racetrack and Casino, and Southern Tier Brewing Co. All donations were generously matched dollar-for-dollar by our utility partners: Peoples Natural Gas, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Duquesne Light Company, and West Penn Power, a FirstEnergy Company. In addition, our Neighborhood Hero donation incentives were provided by Air Pro Heating & Cooling, Wendell August Forge, Jones Turkey Farm, Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland and The Meadows Racetrack and Casino. Refreshments were generously provided to staff and phone bank volunteers by Salem’s Market & Grill and Slice on Broadway. All of these businesses share Dollar Energy Fund’s mission for assisting the limited-income community and we thank them so much for their unwavering support over the years.

Dollar Energy Fund also wants to extend a big THANK YOU to the staff at 3WS and iHeart Pittsburgh for rallying their listeners to support our cause. They worked to keep everyone socially distanced and safe for this virtual fundraiser and we are so grateful for their accommodations.

If you missed our Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon, you can always help a neighbor in need by visiting our website. All donations are matched dollar-for-dollar and 100% of funds go directly to assist families in need.

Incentives Revealed for 2020 Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon

Posted on: November 19, 2020

According to a recent studyover two-thirds of consumers across the U.S. are concerned about their ability to pay their bills. Thousands of families across our Pittsburgh region are experiencing a financial crisis. As temperatures continue to drop, our neighbors need assistance staying warm and safe in their homes.

iHeartMedia is teaming up with Dollar Energy Fund to help our local neighbors restore or maintain their utility service this winter. Our fourth Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon will take place on November 18 & 19, 2020.

The concept is simple: make a donation of $10 or more during the event, request a song, and listen to 94.5 3WS. Every effort will be made to play your song, but higher donation amounts will increase your chance of hearing your song in its entirety and enter you to win incentives.

All donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar by our utility partners, and 100% of all funds will go directly to provide utility assistance grants to our most vulnerable neighbors.

Ways to Donate

  • Call 1-800-823-WARM at any time during the hours of the event (7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on November 18 & 19) and a volunteer will assist you with your donation and submitting a song request.
  • Visit www.dollarenergy.org/requestathon to submit a donation and song request via our secure, online donation portal.

Become a Neighborhood Hero

A donation of $180, or $15/month for a year, will make you a Neighborhood Hero! A $180 donation becomes $360 in assistance once matched by our utility partners. This amount is equal to Dollar Energy Fund’s average winter heating season grant amount and is enough to keep the utility service on for a household in need during the winter. Your support at this level makes you eligible for specific donation incentives! All Neighborhood Heroes will receive:

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook before the Request-A-Thon begins so that you can stay up to date with rapid-fire incentives, guests and promotions throughout the two days. Listen to 94.5 3WS during the event for details.

$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.

Golf Classic Recap

Posted on: September 15, 2020

After postponing the event in June, Dollar Energy Fund was able to host its annual Golf Classic on Friday, September 11, 2020. We welcomed 14 foursomes at Quicksilver Golf Club for a great day on the course.

The day started off with our renowned Bloody Mary bar and an online silent auction, sponsored by Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania. Golfers set out on the course at 8 a.m. with a scramble format. With friendly competitions along the way, such as hole-in-one challenges, longest drive contests and more, golfers were entertained throughout all 18 holes. The staff at Quicksilver worked diligently to provide golfers with cold drinks and snacks as they tackled the course.

As teams finished the course, the Mad Unit was standing by to clean and sanitize golf bags and clubs for all attendees. Guests returned to a delicious lunch hosted outside of the clubhouse while Dollar Energy Fund’s CEO, Chad Quinn, presented awards and prizes. The 2020 Golf Classic prizes were sponsored by Pennsylvania American Water.

A foursome from UPMC won the first place all-around prize with a score of 57. A foursome from Peoples Natural Gas held their title as reigning champions of the Utility Cup for the second consecutive year. As a prize, Peoples’ hardship fund will receive an additional $1,000 contribution from Dollar Energy Fund’s general fundraising. In addition, the winners will have their name engraved on the cup and will be able to keep the trophy until they defend the title during next year’s outing.

We want to thank everyone who helped with the 2020 Dollar Energy Fund Golf Classic. From those who golfed, to those who donated a silent auction item – we couldn’t have done it without you. As always, 100 percent of the proceeds from this event will be matched by our partnering utility companies and will go directly to help families in need of utility assistance.

Dollar Energy Fund would also like to thank all of our Golf Classic sponsors. Their involvement was an integral part of making our event a success, and it goes a long way towards helping the families we serve. Our efforts would not be possible without their support and generosity. We are also grateful to everyone at Quicksilver Golf Club for their excellent service and accommodations, especially during this challenging time.

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.

Click here to view more photos from our Golf Classic.

AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program is Accepting Applications for Summer Cooling & COVID-19 Assistance

Posted on: July 1, 2020

The AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program is now accepting applications for utility assistance grants for the 2020 summer cooling season. Through a partnership between AEP Ohio, an American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) company, and Dollar Energy Fund, eligible AEP Ohio customers who need help during the summer months can apply for assistance to maintain or restore their electric service.

Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program, one of the largest in the country, helps eligible families facing an immediate utility crisis. The AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program supports families in need with a grant applied directly to their AEP Ohio account to prevent disconnection of, or restore, their electric service. Cooling assistance of up to $350 is available once per program year on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligible account holders may apply from July 1- September 30, 2020, while funds are available.

To apply, customers may contact one of the AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program’s network of more than 120 Ohio community-based organizations. To qualify, an applicant’s total gross household income must be at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.

For example, a family of four earning up to $65,500 per year is income-eligible for the program. Households must have made payments to AEP Ohio totaling at least $75 in the three months prior to applying for a grant and owe a minimum of $50 on their AEP Ohio bill. Full eligibility guidelines and application instructions can be found at https://www.dollarenergy.org/need-help/ohio/neighbor-to-neighbor-program.

 COVID-19 Expanded Grants Available to Qualifying Customers

Due to the financial challenges individuals and families may be experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, AEP Ohio is expanding eligibility for its Neighbor to Neighbor Utility Assistance Program. Customers with a total gross household income of more than 250% but less than 300% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines are eligible for a one-time $120 grant. Qualifying AEP Ohio customers may apply from July 15 – August 14, 2020, while funds are available.

Customers must provide proof of financial hardship related to COVID-19 and have a past due amount on their electric bill.

Medical professionals who meet the income threshold may show proof of occupation rather than proof of coronavirus hardship, but must still have a past due amount on their electric bill to qualify.

Customers may only apply for assistance from either the Summer Cooling or the COVID-19 Expanded grants, but not both.

To limit face-to-face contact during this time, the COVID-19 expanded eligibility application is available online at https://www.dollarenergy.org/need-help/ohio/neighbor-to-neighbor-program.

“Many Ohioans may be facing significant and unprecedented economic challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, and we remain committed to supporting those in our community who need help,” said Katie Grayem, director of customer experience for AEP Ohio. “Being a good community partner and neighbor is a core commitment of AEP Ohio. Through the AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor program, we can help to ensure our customers, especially the elderly and those with health problems, can maintain their electric service during the summer months.”

“For more than 10 years, Dollar Energy Fund has been proud to support AEP Ohio’s efforts to serve families who find themselves in a temporary financial situation and need help making ends meet,” said Chad Quinn, chief executive officer of Dollar Energy Fund. “The AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program has become a very useful resource for thousands of households across Ohio, enabling them to maintain utility service when blindsided by unexpected circumstances.”

Since AEP Ohio and Dollar Energy Fund launched the Neighbor to Neighbor Program in May 2009, more than $14.3 million in assistance has been granted to more than 60,000 Ohio households.

The AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program is funded by public contributions that are matched dollar-for-dollar by AEP Ohio. Utility customers may make a contribution through their monthly AEP Ohio bill. Donations also can be made online at AEPOhio.com/helpaneighbor or by sending a check directly to The AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program, Box 42329, Pittsburgh, PA 15203. Every donation to the Neighbor to Neighbor Program is used to assist eligible families residing in Ohio. Every dollar donated to the Neighbor to Neighbor Program will be matched by AEP Ohio. These matching funds and 100% of your donation will assist limited-income families residing in Ohio to afford utility service. With AEP Ohio’s match, your tax-deductible donation will have twice the impact!

For more information about Dollar Energy Fund and how to apply for the Hardship Program or donate to the organization, visit www.dollarenergy.org.

AEP Ohio Extends Utility Assistance Program Through June 30th

Posted on: May 1, 2020

AEP Ohio

Due to the financial challenges individuals and families may be experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, AEP Ohio today announced it is extending availability of its Neighbor to Neighbor Utility Assistance Program to eligible AEP Ohio customers through June 30th.

Through a partnership between AEP Ohio, an American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) company, and Dollar Energy Fund, the Neighbor to Neighbor Program supports families in need with a grant applied directly to their AEP Ohio account to prevent disconnection of, or to restore their electric service. Heating assistance is available once per program year on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligible account holders may apply for assistance through June 30, 2020, while funds are available.

“We recognize the significant and unprecedented challenges that many of our customers may be facing with the COVID19 outbreak, especially those who have experienced an unexpected job loss,” said Katie Grayem, director of Customer Experience for AEP Ohio. “Being a good community partner and neighbor is who we are and what we do, and we are committed to giving our neighbors, who may are struggling to make ends meet, a helping hand to ensure their electric service stays connected.”

To apply, customers may contact one of the AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program’s network of more than 120 Ohio community-based organizations. To qualify, an applicant’s total gross household income must be at or below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.

For example, a family of four earning up to $65,500 per year is income-eligible for the program. Households must have made payments to AEP Ohio totaling at least $75 in the three months prior to applying for a grant and owe a minimum of $50 on their AEP Ohio bill. Full eligibility guidelines and application instructions can be found at AEPOhio.com/helpaneighbor.

The AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program is funded by public contributions that are matched dollar-for-dollar by AEP Ohio. Utility customers may make a contribution through their monthly AEP Ohio bill. Donations also can be made online at AEPOhio.com/helpaneighbor or by sending a check directly to The AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program, Box 42329, Pittsburgh, PA 15203. Every donation to the Neighbor to Neighbor Program is used to assist eligible families residing in Ohio. Every dollar donated to the Neighbor to Neighbor Program will be matched by AEP Ohio. These matching funds and 100% of your donation will assist limited-income families residing in Ohio to afford utility service. With AEP Ohio’s generous match, your tax-deductible donation will have twice the impact!

For more information about Dollar Energy Fund and how to apply for the Hardship Program, visit www.dollarenergy.org/need-help/ohio/neighbor-neighbor-program/.

Struggling to afford your utility bill? Explore these options.

Posted on: March 31, 2020

During this uncertain time, millions of families across the United States are facing unemployment and financial instability for the first time. Whether their financial stress is related to the COVID-19 crisis or other economic issues, Dollar Energy Fund is committed to remaining a resource for families in need. Our mission is more important now than at any other time in our 37 year history.

 

Contact Your Utility Company

This week, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PA PUC) is urging households across the state to explore the many options available to help keep their monthly utility bills affordable.

Utilities are committed to working with consumers to address these challenging circumstances – but they need to hear directly from families and businesses who are experiencing problems so they can begin those individual conversations about what resources and options are available.

Although the PUC has temporarily paused payment-related utility terminations, it is important for consumers to understand that any past due bills or delinquent balances that remain after the current public health emergency has passed will be handled according to the rules of the individual utilities and consistent with Commission policy. Under this moratorium, your utility usage will continue to be collected by your utility company and you will be responsible for charges associated with your usage. It is important to work directly with your utility company to get a plan in place if you need assistance now, but it will also minimize future financial challenges when the emergency has passed.

 

Here are some tips and assistance options for families experiencing financial difficulties:

  • Contact your utility company directly. Discuss your financial situation with your utilities before bills become delinquent. Many of our utility partners, along with their government oversight entities, are temporarily modifying their guidelines and policies to allow for leniency towards customers facing utility service terminations. If you did not qualify for CAP programs before, you may be eligible now. Your utility company will provide you with the latest information regarding how this situation effects their customers. Assistance options could include extended payment plans, budget billing, and hardship grants.
    • Paying your utility bill is still required. If you are able, pay your bill in full and on time to minimize the chance of a future termination notice and other financial challenges once the pandemic is over.
    • If you are unable to make your payment due to sudden loss of income related to COVID-19, please contact your utility company immediately.
    • If your income has recently been reduced, utility companies encourage you to make a payment of any amount during this time.
  • Apply for federal programs, such as LIHEAP. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps families living on low incomes pay their heating bills in the form of a cash grant. Households in immediate danger of being without heat can also qualify for crisis grants. View LIHEAP guidelines for your state here.
  • Explore energy conservation tips. More people are working remotely and spending their entire day at home. This can have a notable impact on your energy usage. Energy conservation and home weatherization should be a priority to keep utility bills affordable. Here are a few websites that can offer information and tips for saving energy:

 

Dollar Energy Fund

Dollar Energy Fund has taken steps to ensure our Hardship Program will continue, regardless of any concerns with limited staff resources or potential closures of our office. We have also initiated measures to ensure the continuity of the other services we provide, including enrollments in Customer Assistance Programs. Our organization is adjusting as we transition some of our employees to a work-from-home environment. Due to these changes, customers calling into our customer contact center may experience longer-than-normal wait times.

 

Ways to Help Your Neighbors in Need

With many facing uncertain financial situations, Dollar Energy Fund anticipates a significant increase in demand for our services in the coming months. If you are able to help, please consider making a contribution through our online donation portal or by adding a donation of one dollar or more to your monthly utility bill.

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4,720 Senior Citizen Households Assisted During Our 2019-2020 Program Year