October 23, 2003
RICHMOND, Va. - With the cold winter months approaching, those in need are already worrying about living in a house without heat. Dominion Virginia Power/North Carolina Power is addressing that need by beginning its 21st year of EnergyShare, its fuel assistance program.
EnergyShare helps pay home heating bills for qualified individuals living within the company's service area. It pays for any heating source: oil, gas, kerosene, wood, and electricity. It is a program of last resort for the elderly, the ill, and for all who face financial hardships from unemployment or family crisis. Payments go directly to energy vendors on behalf of those helped, and every cent donated goes to benefit those in need.
"Hurricane Isabel gave us all a taste of what it's like to go without electricity," said Jay L. Johnson, president and chief executive officer. "Combine that with freezing temperatures, and we can all relate to the basic human need for warmth. The need outweighs the contributions, so we again ask our customers to help."
Last year, the program raised more than $1.1 million and helped 5,536 families -- including nearly 2,230 children, 861 senior citizens and 1,507 disabled people.
In addition to support from Dominion Virginia Power/North Carolina Power customers and employees, EnergyShare partners -- including businesses, churches and civic or other organizations -- have donated money or services to the program. Dominion pays the program's administrative costs, allowing all donations to go toward paying heating bills. The company also will contribute $50,000 in matching funds to assist persons in paying their electric bills.
Dominion Virginia Power/North Carolina Power customers can contribute to EnergyShare by adding an extra $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $25 or $35 to monthly bills. The company's computers automatically recognize these exact amounts as contributions to EnergyShare. An envelope also will be inserted in customers' bills in October and February soliciting contributions. Donations may be mailed to EnergyShare, P.O. Box 12083, and Richmond, Va. 23241-0083.
To qualify for EnergyShare assistance, a person must be in danger of losing an important heat source; must have a household income no higher than one-half of the local median income level; be unemployed; or demonstrate a personal or family crisis. To ensure the widest possible distribution of EnergyShare assistance, persons eligible can receive only one payment of up to $500 per heating season. Last year, the average payment was $200.
Local health and social service agencies in Dominion's electric service area will distribute the funds. All agencies will begin accepting applications Dec. 12, except the Salvation Army, which will begin Jan. 2.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers of energy, with a diversified and integrated energy portfolio that includes 24,000 megawatts of generation and 6.2 trillion cubic feet equivalent of proved natural gas reserves. Dominion also serves 5.3 million retail energy customers in nine states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at www.dom.com.