11/12/2009

New Partnership Plans to Increase Utility Assistance for Low-income Families in Tennessee

As energy costs continue to rise at a time when many household budgets are not, AEP Appalachian Power announces a new partnership with Dollar Energy Fund, a non-profit hardship fund. The partnership is focused on helping low-income families in Tennessee by improving contributions and distribution of funds that help pay electric bills. AEP stockholders are contributing $25,000 to the Tennessee fund.
 
“Throughout the years AEP Appalachian Power customers in Tennessee have been very generous in helping their neighbors in need through the company’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor program,” said Dana Waldo, Appalachian Power president and COO. “We’re pleased to enhance the program that many have come to know, by making it year round and making it easy to contribute or find information about assistance on-line.”
 
AEP Appalachian Power customers can help their neighbors by making a tax deductible donation to the program. AEP Appalachian Power customers can contribute to the fund at the same time that they pay their monthly bills by pledging a dollar or more, or even rounding up their bill each month. Electronic contributions are also accepted on both AEP Appalachian Power’s and Dollar Energy Fund’s websites. All donations to the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program assist low-income families residing in Tennessee.
 
“Many customers see their highest energy consumption in the winter,” said Chad Quinn, COO of Dollar Energy Fund. “AEP Appalachian Power’s generous donation to the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program will help thousands of low-income families keep safe and warm this season. “
 
In addition to program enhancements that aid in donating, the partnership provides enhanced ability to distribute funds to the needy. The Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program will now operate year round as opposed to just the winter months. A family of four earning a gross income up to $33,075 per year is income eligible for the program. To qualify, households must have made a sincere effort of payment on their electric bill in the last 90 days and have a back balance. A network of Community Based Organizations throughout Tennessee will provide application intake services. Full eligibility guidelines and application instructions can be found at www.dollarenergyfund.org.
 
Since AEP Appalachian Power began its utility assistance program, customers and stockholders have contributed approximately $5.4 million to help pay the energy bills of nearly 82,000 needy customers in West Virginia and Virginia. In Tennessee the program started in 1986 and since then customers and stockholders have contributed approximately $345,000 to help pay bills for more than 3,800 customers.
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Appalachian Power provides electricity to 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, with more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.
 
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, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Throughout its history, the organization has provided over $60 million in utility assistance grants to over 250,000 low-income families and individuals.
 
All donations to the Neighbor to Neighbor Program, administered by Dollar Energy Fund, will assist low-income families residing in Virginia. Additional information can be found on Dollar Energy Fund’s website, www.dollarenergyfund.org.

Todd Burns
tfburns@aep.com

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