|Neighbor To Neighbor program kicks off summer cooling season|
|Wednesday, June 11, 2014 8:10 PM|
COLUMBUS — The Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program, a partnership between AEP Ohio, a unit of American Electric Power and Dollar Energy Fund, one of the largest hardship funds in the country, is now providing utility assistance grants for the 2014 summer cooling season. Eligible AEP Ohio customers can apply for assistance to maintain or restore electric service.
Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program provides one-time assistance to families facing an immediate utility crisis. With help from the Neighbor to Neighbor Program, families in need can receive a grant that’s applied directly to their AEP Ohio account and prevents the termination of their electric service. Beginning June 1 the program began accepting applications from households seeking cooling assistance through Aug. 31.
“This past winter was extremely cold and lasted longer than anyone could have anticipated. As a result many Ohio families may be struggling with higher than expected utility bills which could get worse during the hot summer months,” said Pablo Vegas, president and chief operating officer for AEP Ohio. “AEP Ohio is committed to working with those customers to ensure their electric service continues even though they are struggling to make ends meet.”
The Neighbor to Neighbor program offers one-time assistance to families facing termination of service with a grant that’s applied directly to their AEP Ohio account. AEP Ohio and Dollar Energy Fund launched the Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program in May 2009 and have helped more than 32,000 Ohio families with more than $8.4 million in utility assistance grants. In May, AEP Ohio extended the winter heating assistance program through the end of May to help customers impacted by this year’s historically cold winter. In a typical year the fund is closed between May and June until the home cooling season begins.
“Neighbor to Neighbor has become a program that typically serves the families who find themselves in a temporary financial situation due to an unexpected expense or loss of income,” said Chad Quinn, Chief Executive Officer of Dollar Energy Fund. “The Neighbor to Neighbor Program is available to lend a helping hand to Ohioans who may be struggling to keep food on the table or cover all other household costs.”
The Neighbor to Neighbor Program’s network of more than 120 Ohio Community Based Organizations are now taking applications. To qualify, total gross household income must be at or below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines. For example, a family of four earning up to $59,625 per year is income eligible for the program. Households must have made a sincere effort of payment on their electric bill in the last 90 days and have a back balance. Full eligibility guidelines and application instructions can be found at www.dollarenergyfund.org.
The Neighbor to Neighbor Program in Ohio is funded by public contributions that are matched dollar for dollar by AEP Ohio. Utility customers may make a contribution through their monthly AEP Ohio bill. Donations can also be made online at www.dollarenergyfund.org or by sending a check directly to the Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program, L-3285, Columbus OH 43266-3285. Every donation to the Neighbor to Neighbor Program is used to assist eligible families residing in Ohio.
For more information about Dollar Energy Fund and how to apply for the Hardship Program or donate to the organization, visit www.dollarenergyfund.org.