RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Dominion has made a second $1 million donation to help EnergyShare assist families affected by the current economic downturn. This follows a $1 million contribution Dominion made in October to launch the 2009-2010 heating season assistance program.
"We recognize that our customers are being affected by economic hardships that have not been seen in several generations," said Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Dominion has increased its contribution to EnergyShare to provide additional assistance to those individuals and families who are most vulnerable to the current adverse economic conditions."
EnergyShare, which is supported by donations from Dominion customers and its employees, is aimed at helping those experiencing a crisis heat their homes after all other forms of assistance have been exhausted. Payments go directly to the energy vendor on behalf of the recipient. Donations to EnergyShare totaled more than $7 million last winter, and more than 18,000 families were helped in Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio.
To qualify for EnergyShare assistance, an individual must live in Dominion's service area and meet one of the following criteria:
- Be in jeopardy of losing an important heat source;
- Meet income-based eligibility requirements as determined by screening agencies;
- Be unemployed, or
- Demonstrate a personal or family crisis.
Administering agencies can help individuals determine if they are eligible for the program. For information on the nearest screening agency, call 1-888-667-3000. Helpful tips on how to apply for assistance are available in video format at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fc6mJV_9G4A
Those eligible can receive a one-time payment of up to $600 per heating season. Because Dominion and the agencies pay all of the administrative costs, every dollar contributed to EnergyShare goes directly toward paying heating bills. The funds can be used for any type of heating source - oil, coal, wood, kerosene, natural gas or electricity.
Over its 27-year history, EnergyShare has raised more than $35 million and helped more than 180,000 families. EnergyShare donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 11186, Richmond, Va. 23230. Contributions are tax-deductible in accordance with Internal Revenue Service regulations.
Other assistance, payment options available
Customers who are behind in their bill payment are encouraged to obtain information on these options by calling Dominion Customer Service at 1-888-667-3000. The winter heating season, coupled with the current recession, has placed many Dominion customers in difficult financial situations. Dominion offers several options to help customers who have missed one or more payments.
Dominion also has conducted an outbound call campaign to customers who have received energy assistance in the past to encourage them to seek assistance if they find themselves struggling. The company also recently organized an outbound call campaign to an additional 75,000 customers who may be eligible for energy assistance.
Dominion's Third-Party Notification Program allows customers to designate a relative, clergy member, social service agency or friend to be notified in the event that electric service is in danger of being disconnected for nonpayment. This allows both the customer and the designated third party to receive notification of any past-due amount owed and the due date for that amount.
The designated third parties are not obligated to pay the bill, nor do they have any liability for the account. However, the third party can assist the customer with arrangements to ensure the electric service continues without interruption.
There is no charge for using the service. A Third-Party Notice Request form, which must be completed by the customer to initiate the service, is available by contacting Dominion's Customer Service Center at 1-888-667-3000 or online at http://www.dom.com/find-it-fast/billing-options/third-party-notice.jsp.
Dominion also offers gift certificates in denominations of $10, $25, $50, $75, $100 and $250. A gift of energy can help a customer who is having difficulty making a Dominion bill payment. Gift certificates can be personalized to include the giver's name or be sent anonymously, and they have no expiration date.
Anyone can buy a gift certificate, but they can be redeemed only by a Dominion customer. Information is available online at http://www.dom.com/find-it-fast/payment-options/gift-certificates.jsp.
Dominion (NYSE: D) is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of more than 27,500 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage systems and serves retail energy customers in 12 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at www.dom.com.
Web site: http://www.dom.com/