To help support those most affected by rising energy costs, Avista Corp. (NYSE: AVA) has contributed $200,000 to Project Share, an emergency energy assistance fund managed by Spokane Neighborhood Assistance Programs (SNAP) and other community action agencies in Avista’s Washington and Idaho service areas.
Project Share, a fuel-blind fund, provides emergency assistance to pay for any type of heating fuel, including electric, coal, wood, propane, and natural gas. It is administered by community action agencies throughout the region as a one-time grant given when other avenues of assistance have been exhausted. Recipients of Project Share assistance do not have to be an Avista customer.
“As our entire nation faces dramatic increases in energy costs this winter, those least able to face the challenge are the ones most impacted by rising energy costs,�? said Scott Morris, Avista Utilities president. “This year, Avista’s continued support of Project Share is more important and more needed than ever by families and individuals in our region. We will continue to focus on providing support to programs that offer energy assistance and energy efficiency measures to the vulnerable in our communities.�?
Morris added that Avista funds its contribution to Project Share from shareholder earnings and does not impact customer rates.
Avista customers who would like to help those in need with their energy costs can conveniently contribute to Project Share through their monthly Avista statement – simply write the contribution amount in the Project Share line on the Avista bill and add the contribution to the energy payment. All Avista customer contributions to Project Share go to SNAP, which distributes the funds to community action agencies in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.
In 2004 Avista customers contributed more than $326,000 to Project Share through their monthly energy bills. Christine McCabe, Avista’s community development coordinator, said 2005 customer contributions are tracking to reach the same level.
“Our customers and the community are exceedingly generous in supporting others who are facing difficult situations,�? said McCabe. “We know this winter’s energy costs are going to be challenging for everyone, but the continued support of Avista and its customers will make a difference for vulnerable families and individuals in our communities.�?
Since 2000, Avista has contributed almost $900,000 to Project Share to provide energy assistance to households in the company’s Washington and Idaho service area. That is in addition to the more than $1.4 million Avista Utilities customers have contributed through their monthly energy bill. Over the past five years more than 19,000 households in the region received Project Share assistance. Avista (then known as Washington Water Power) and partner Catholic Charities were the founders of Project Share in 1982. SNAP later assumed operation of the energy assistance program.
In addition to its Project Share support, Avista offers other programs to customers in need including a Low Income Rate Assistance Program (LIRAP), the Senior Energy Outreach program in Washington, Senior Conservation Workshops in Washington and Idaho, and Customer Assistance Referral and Education Service (CARES). Last year, Avista’s LIRAP program provided more than $3 million of assistance to more than 8,000 of the company’s electric and natural gas customers.
Avista asks that customers who find that they may have trouble paying their bill call (800) 227-9187 to talk to a customer service representative who can help them make payment arrangements or to refer them to these programs or others.
Avista Corp. is an energy company involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy as well as other energy-related businesses. Avista Utilities is a company operating division that provides service to 330,000 electric and 285,000 natural gas customers in three western states. Avista’s non-regulated subsidiaries include Avista Advantage (www.avistaadvantage.com) and Avista Energy (www.avistaenergy.com) . Avista Corp.’s stock is traded under the ticker symbol “AVA.�? For more information about Avista, please visit www.avistacorp.com.
Avista Corp. and the Avista Corp. logo are trademarks of Avista Corporation.
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