West Virginia Utility Assistance Program Receives The Victorine Q. Adams Award

Local Organization Receives National Award

Jun 16, 2010, 10:39 ET from Dollar Energy Fund West Virginia Utility Assistance Program

CHARLESTON, W.Va., June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The West Virginia Utility Assistance Program (WV-UAP) was presented with The Victorine Q. Adams Award today during the National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference in San Antonio, TX. The annual award, commemorating the late Victorine Q. Adams who founded one of the nation's first fuel funds in 1978, recognizes an institutional development, program or service delivery method that has a positive impact on the low-income community.

The WV-UAP, an initiative of the Dollar Energy Fund, is a statewide utility assistance grant program. The program began providing grants to help low-income West Virginia households maintain or restore safe gas, electric and water utility service in October 2008.

The program partners with all major utility companies throughout West Virginia (Appalachian Power, Allegheny Power, Dominion Hope, Equitable Gas, Mountaineer Gas and West Virginia American Water). The WV-UAP has also built a network of over 70 local community based organizations that provide application intake services for the program and connect clients with other assistance programs available to help meet the needs of the household such as food banks, employment and medical services.

Since the program's inception, more than 6,750 low-income West Virginia households have received utility assistance grants totaling more than $1.8 million. The current demand for the West Virginia Utility Assistance Program has increased by 125% over the first year. Danielle Snidow, Director of the West Virginia Utility Assistance Program says, "We are proud to be able to help our neighbors during these difficult times. This program provides assistance to help families make ends meet while they are facing a temporary hardship. Many families just need a little bit of help while they are searching for new employment due to a layoff or recovering from an injury or illness."

Utility assistance grants from the WV-UAP program are distributed on a first come, first serve basis and applicants must meet specific criteria in order to qualify. These criteria include: a sincere effort of payment in the previous 90 days, an income equal to or less than 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guideline and an active termination notice/broken agreement letter or disconnected utility service. Full eligibility requirements are available at www.dollarenergyfund.org.

"This program is truly about neighbors helping neighbors," says Snidow. "I hope that those who are able will contribute to the program to help their neighbors during these tough times." The WV-UAP is a private non-profit organization that relies on voluntary donations from individuals, corporations and foundations. The program's unique partnership with utility companies doubles the impact of each donation by matching it dollar for dollar and providing 100% of the original contribution and matching dollars to low-income households in the form of utility assistance grants. Contributions to the West Virginia Utility Assistance Program can be made via a pledge added to a monthly utility bill or a one-time donation to the program.  Donations may also be made online at www.dollarenergyfund.org or by check, payable to Dollar Energy Fund, sent to P.O. Box 3979, Charleston, WV 25339.  

Contributions to the West Virginia Utility Assistance Program are tax deductible and will help West Virginia residents maintain or restore basic gas, electric or water service.

About the West Virginia Utility Assistance Program:  

The West Virginia Utility Assistance Program is an initiative by Dollar Energy Fund, Inc. to provide comprehensive utility assistance to low-income West Virginia individuals, senior citizens and families through a statewide network of community-based organizations. The program is made possible through the assistance and encouragement of Governor Joe Manchin, the utility industry and a start-up grant from The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. Individuals interested in contributing can do so through their utility bills, by sending donations directly to P.O. Box 3979, Charleston, WV, 25339, or by donating online at www.dollarenergyfund.org. All donations to the West Virginia Utility Assistance Program will assist low-income families residing in West Virginia.

About Dollar Energy Fund, Inc:  Dollar Energy Fund was founded in 1983 and has grown to become one of the largest hardship funds in the United States. Dollar Energy Fund is a 501 (c) 3 organization operating in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee and West Virginia. Throughout its history, the organization has provided over $70 million in utility assistance grants to over 255,000 low-income families and individuals.

SOURCE Dollar Energy Fund West Virginia Utility Assistance Program