NEW ORLEANS, June 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR) received the National Fuel Funds Network's 2010 Corporate Excellence Award today for its work fighting poverty and helping its low-income customers.
The award was presented Wednesday during the National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference in San Antonio, Texas. The National Fuel Funds Network is an association of some 300 groups and companies that provide financial help so low-income people can pay their energy costs.
The fuel funds group selected Entergy for the award based on the company's Low-Income Customer Assistance Initiative, a group of programs aimed at eliminating poverty and providing help to economically vulnerable customers in the four states served by Entergy utilities.
"This is a great honor for the men and women at Entergy who work so hard to address the needs and issues faced by far too many of our customers," said J. Wayne Leonard, chairman and chief executive officer of Entergy. "They reflect the conscience of our company. They have made great progress in aligning outdated corporate policies with our values as well as working to improve public policies directly affecting those with low or fixed incomes."
Entergy's initiative began more than 10 years ago with Leonard's call for employees and community advocates to work together and create a set of public and corporate policies to help low-income customers and to fight against the widespread poverty in the mid-South. Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas are among the top 10 states in the percentage of people living below the poverty line.
"Our employees put together a 'business' plan that serves as a model for others in our industry and beyond," Leonard said.
Among the program's accomplishments over the last decade:
- Between 1999 and 2009, donations from customers, employees and shareholders for Entergy's customer assistance funds increased from $681,000 to $2.3 million.
- Approximately 5,400 additional homes are weatherized each year through Entergy and state-run programs.
- Arkansas, Texas and New Orleans have passed legislation creating permanent sources of public funding for low-income customer assistance programs.
- Approximately $1.6 million in Entergy donations were used to expand Individual Development Account matched savings program to 69 communities in Entergy states, helping an estimated 19,000 people and creating an economic impact estimated at $69 million.
- Earned Income Tax Credit refunds are up $900 million annually in Entergy states, totaling $8.1 billion per year due in part to Entergy's promotion of the EITC to its low-income customers.
"It's fitting that Entergy received the Corporate Excellence Award since its leadership and rank and file have demonstrated over the years a tremendous commitment to the issues affecting their low-income customers," said Thomas Stovall, chairperson of the NFFN board of directors.
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.7 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $10 billion and more than 15,000 employees.
Entergy's online address is www.entergy.com
SOURCE Entergy Corporation