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DETROIT EDISON PROVIDES UP TO $1 MILLION TO AID POOR CUSTOMERS

 DETROIT EDISON PROVIDES UP TO $1 MILLION TO AID POOR CUSTOMERS
 DETROIT, Dec. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Detroit Edison (NYSE: DTE) announced today it will donate up to $1 million to help low-income customers with their electric bills this winter and provide energy assistance to all permanent homeless shelters in southeastern Michigan.
 John E. Lobbia, Detroit Edison chairman and chief executive officer, said the company will match up to $800,000 in bill payments made by The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW), which provides energy assistance to those who have exhausted or do not qualify for other sources of aid. An additional $200,000 is earmarked for homeless shelters.
 THAW is funded by contributions from utility customers in southeastern Michigan, with administrative support provided by utilities.
 "We've looked at a number of alternatives for helping the homeless and low-income families this winter," Lobbia said. "Because our customers are familiar with the yearly THAW solicitation, we felt it would be an effective means for addressing the problem."
 Created in 1986, THAW is a non-profit organization composed of southeastern Michigan community agencies, businesses and churches. Annual contributions from utility customers assist the working poor, elderly, disabled and unemployed -- people who sometimes need a helping hand with their energy bills.
 Energy assistance to homeless shelters will be provided between Jan. 1 and May 1, 1992, to help get them through the winter months, said Detroit Edison Vice President Robert J. Buckler. The utility will contribute money toward the electric bills for 23 permanent shelters.
 Beginning Dec. 16, Detroit Edison residential, commercial and industrial customers will receive a bill insert asking them to contribute to THAW. Detroit Edison will solicit donations from its customers using special bill inserts through April 6, 1992.
 Detroit Edison also is providing a public service announcement on THAW that will air this winter on Detroit-area television stations.
 In addition, Detroit Edison customers 62 years and older are exempt from service shut-offs between now and March 31, 1992. Low- and no- income customers are being encouraged to enter one of four payment plans. If they do not, Detroit Edison may install a "service limiter," which limits electricity usage to an amount that will power the normal, basic operation of a household.
 Customer representatives are visiting homes where electric service had been previously cut for non-payment. Those customers are being offered one of the payment plans and advised of the various energy assistance programs available.
 Any low- or no-income customer is eligible for any of these payment programs:
 -- MPSC Winter Protection Plan -- Mandated by the Michigan Public Service Commission, shut-offs will be prevented when customers pay at least 7 percent of their annual usage plus their previous balance in equal monthly installments by Dec. 1 of the following plan period.
 -- Detroit Edison Winter Protection Plan -- Allows the customer to pay current bills by the due date plus their previous balance in equal monthly installments by the start of the next plan period.
 -- Detroit Edison Settlement Agreement -- An individualized payment plan geared to a customer's ability to pay, the size of his or her previous balance and the customer's payment history. The primary concern is to keep the electricity on during the Winter Protection period.
 -- Energy Management Program -- Includes home visits to advise customers of practical ways to reduce their electric usage to better match their household budget. Customers pay an amount each month which is intended to cover their current usage plus any additional money paid applied to their previous balance.
 For those without other resources, credits of up to $500 are available through THAW. Call 1-800-552-1183 for more information.
 -0- 12/5/91
 /CONTACT: Mary Kay Bean, 313-237-8809, or Scott L. Simons, 313-237-8808, both of Detroit Edison/
 (DTE) CO: Detroit Edison ST: Michigan IN: UTI SU: PDT


JG-SM -- DE006 -- 9586 12/05/91 10:31 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 5, 1991
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