The coronavirus pandemic continues to bring financial hardship to Americans from coast to coast. According to the latest unemployment numbers, weekly first-time jobless claims remain above 1 million for the 13th week in a row. During this difficult time, many energy utilities are promoting their financial assistance programs and encouraging customers to “pay it forward” to help their neighbors in need.
Lending a helping hand
Many people are interested in helping out in some way. These acts of kindness come in all shapes and sizes, including donating blood, volunteering and supporting local businesses. In fact, 46% of millennials say they want to give more in response to the pandemic.
Most people simply aren’t aware they have options to give back through their energy utility. Here’s a few examples of energy utility programs that provide customers with the opportunity to help their neighbors and community.
Entergy’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund: Established by the Entergy Charitable Foundation, this relief fund is dedicated to helping customers affected by the pandemic. The fund helps customers across multiple states, including Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New York and Texas. In partnership with the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Entergy Louisiana created Fueling the Fight, a program that covers costs of providing meals to healthcare workers on the frontline of the pandemic. The energy utility is matching individual donations up to $50,000.
AEP Ohio’s Neighbor to Neighbor Program: This assistance program helps customers facing financial hardship maintain or restore their basic electric service. For customers looking to give back, the energy utility will match every donation, and 100% of proceeds help a local family in need. Customers have the option to donate through their AEP Ohio bill.
Mississippi Power’s Project SHARE: For as little as a dollar a month, customers can help make a difference for elderly or medically disabled customers. To make it easy, customers can add their desired donation when they pay their utility bill. Since its inception, Project SHARE has received more than $900,000 donations from customers and employees.
Eversource Energy’s Neighbor Helping Neighbor Fund: In partnership with six community action agencies, this program helps energy utility customers who are unable to pay their utility bill due to temporary crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. Eversource provides their customers with the opportunity to make a one-time online donation or set up recurring contributions through their monthly bill.
As the pandemic continues, energy utilities should promote their financial assistance programs as well as the opportunity for customers to donate to the cause. Many customers are looking to pay it forward and help their neighbors get back on their feet.