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Yankee Gas Services Company
P.O. Box 270
Hartford, CT 06141-0270
YANKEE’S LUCY DAVIS IS NEW CHAIR OF OPERATION FUEL
As energy prices climb, so does the need for more energy assistance
Sandy St. Pierre
BERLIN, Conn., August 15, 2005—Yankee Gas Customer Service Manager Lucy Davis has been tapped to serve as the new chairperson of Operation Fuel, one of Connecticut’s best-known fuel banks. Operation Fuel is a non-profit organization that provides energy assistance for needy Connecticut families who do not otherwise qualify for this aid under federal guidelines, but still need help paying their heating bills. Davis has served on the board of Operation Fuel for seven years.
“When families need heating assistance, Operation Fuel will pay the vendor directly—whether it is the gas utility or the heating oil company—and those funds are applied to the customer’s account,” said Davis. “Operation Fuel serves those with the critical need for aid, those who don’t qualify for state or federal aid because their income puts them above federal poverty guidelines, those often referred to as the ‘working poor.’ These are the families who often have the most financial difficulty and they live in every community across the state.”
Although the high price of energy is a major factor, it is not the only driver contributing to the growing need for Operation Fuel in Connecticut. A tighter economy, reductions in federal heating assistance funding and even lower income guidelines to qualify for heating assistance from the state mean that more families will be seeking aid from Operation Fuel this coming winter. During the 2004/2005 winter heating season, Operation Fuel paid out $800,000 in energy assistance grants—more than in any winter since 1976. Most of the funding for Operation Fuel comes from natural gas and electric utility customers who donate to the program by adding a dollar to their monthly bills.
“We are grateful for the support we receive from the utilities and their customers each year,” said Davis. “But this year, with energy costs up across the board—in some cases to unprecedented levels—we are very concerned that more families will need our help to pay their heating bills this winter.” To meet the need, Davis said the organization is now seeking other types of funding, such as grants or funds from the private sector to help fill the gaps.
Davis notes there are other forms of assistance available to natural gas customers. The state’s gas and electric utilities—Yankee Gas, Connecticut Natural Gas and Southern Connecticut Gas, Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating—all offer matching payment plans for customers who qualify for some type of heating assistance. Under these programs, the companies work with their customers who have outstanding balances, matching each payment the customer makes, dollar-for-dollar, until the account reaches a zero balance.
Connecticut residents who need help paying their winter heating bills will be able to apply for aid in the fall through a state Social Services office or a local fuel bank (for a complete list of all fuel banks in Connecticut, visit www.yankeegas.com). To make a donation to Operation Fuel, utility customers can “add a dollar” to their utility (gas and electric) bills, or send their donation directly to Operation Fuel, 10 Wintonbury Avenue, Bloomfield, CT 06002.
Yankee Gas Services Company (Yankee Gas) is Connecticut’s largest natural gas distribution company, delivering safe, reliable natural gas service to approximately 194,000 customers in 71 cities and towns. Yankee Gas is expanding Connecticut’s energy options and increasing customer choice by extending the availability of clean, efficient natural gas throughout the state. Yankee Gas is part of the Northeast Utilities System (NYSE: NU). For more information, please visit www.yankeegas.com.
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