Edison International and United Way Focus on Breaking the Cycle of Poverty with the Energy Assistance Fund

Since 1982 Edison International, its Employees and Customers Have Invested $16M in the Energy Assistance Fund Helping Over 200,000 Struggling Families Pay Their Utility Bills

Jun 14, 2012, 13:31 ET from United Way of Greater Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, June 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The majority of renters living in Los Angeles pay between 30 and 50 percent of their income on rent. This staggering statistic, along with the escalated cost of living, has made it nearly impossible for some low-income families to pay for basic necessities such as food and electricity, forcing a parent to make the difficult choice of putting food on the table or keeping the lights on. The Energy Assistance Fund (EAF) is a partnership with Edison International and United Way of Greater Los Angeles to help low to medium-income families pay their electric bill, providing partial financial stability during a time of great need.

"One in five children in L.A. County is living below the poverty level," said Elise Buik, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. "With more proposed budget cuts to social services, we all need to follow Edison International's example of supporting our neighbors facing tremendous hardship. We applaud their commitment of helping even more people in need with their current investment of $1 million into EAF and our communities. They do this program voluntarily because they have a diverse workforce that is deeply rooted in the communities they serve."  

The EAF program was started in 1982 as a seasonal winter program lasting only eight to twelve weeks and helping on average 4,000 families. The program has since grown to meet the expanding need of the community, serving approximately 10,000 households over a six to 11 month period. Since 1982, Edison International and its employees have assisted over 200,000 families through investments of approximately $12 million into the program with an additional $4 million contributed from their customers.

"We are proud to be a partner with United Way in its fight against poverty throughout our diverse community," said Steve Pickett, executive vice president, External Relations, Southern California Edison.

United Way of Greater Los Angeles administers the EAF program funds in 12 counties including: Los Angeles, Kern, Kings, Imperial, Inyo, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Tulare, Fresno and Ventura Counties. The distribution is based on need, population and poverty in the county, with funds made available through participating United Way of Greater Los Angeles agencies. Agencies, located across 12 counties, will provide bill payment assistance to qualified low and medium- income customers. The distribution sites are strategically located throughout Southern California Edison's (SCE) service areas for efficient processing and payment.

Summer months means higher utility bills, presenting a larger burden on families and their household budgets. Tax-deductible donations can be made to EAF through the United Way website at http://www.unitedway.org/get-help. SCE customers can also donate to EAF through their monthly bills. 

The 2012 EAF program launched on June 11. For further information on how to qualify for the EAF please visit http://www.SCE.com/EAF or contact SCE's toll-free number at 800-205-8596.

About United Way of Greater Los Angeles

United Way of Greater Los Angeles is a nonprofit organization that creates pathways out of poverty by helping homeless people move into housing, providing students with the support they need to graduate high school prepared for college and the workforce, and helping hard-working families become financially stable. United Way identifies the root causes of poverty and works strategically to solve them by building alliances across all sectors, funding targeted programs and advocating for change. For more information, visit www.unitedwayla.org.

About Southern California Edison

An Edison International (NYSE: EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation's largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.

SOURCE United Way of Greater Los Angeles